Many treat the presence of vanilla in far flung places as common knowledge, but in reality it’s often impossible to buy any.
One case is Fiji. Lots of vanilla info lists Fiji as a source of vanilla. My investigation began with this 2007 page from the Fiji Government that quotes “Operations Manager of Spices of Fiji Limited Veronica Hazelman” on the subject of vanilla.
A google search turned up this description of the vanilla operation from a 2006 for-sale listing:
Everything is certified Organic by Ecocert, with established markets, almost all exports to Australia and New Zealand. Spices are all sold prepacked for ultimate retail sale, and sale to food service outlets. The Gatty Fiji brand is a quarantee of high quality. We have a system of “outgrowers” wjho grow for us, village families with small plots of vanilla. They supply much of our production.
Indeed, a quick googling turns up several places to buy Gatty Fiji brand extract. But what about the beans?
When all else fails, look in the phone book:
Spices Of Fiji Ltd, Wainadoi Gardens Lami, Suva, 336 2851
A bit more hunting for Wainadoi gardens turned up this link, and a e-mail address: spices(at)connect.com.fj.
The operations manager of Spices of Fiji Ltd (Veronica Hazelman) replied, and offered the following information:
We are currently selling vanilla AA Long Grade at FJ$120 per kilo.
We do sell a package of 250g at FJ$50 and also glass tube pack with two vanilla beans.
Shipping through DHL courier would probably be the best but expensive.
To order, contact Veronica through e-mail: spices(at)connect.com.fj (replace (at) with @).
Read more more about Wainadoi Gardens and Spices of Fiji on the VanillaReview.com Spices of Fiji info page.
The full ad listing for Spices of Fiji (source):
Spices of Fiji is a lifestyle & a successfull business that needs a buyer who loves plants. The Aussie who founded it is edging on in years and wants to find a counterpart to take over. This is freehold land, close to forty acres, spice gardens and a Nature Garden for tourists, showing off tropical fruits, veggies, medicinal plants, timber trees, wild and domesticated orchids and other tropical flowers with crazy shapes and colours. We grow and sell spices, and we cater to local and overseas visitors who want to see tht plants grow, and want to talk about using some of them in their cooking. The spices are horticultural, shrubs, vines and trees already planted. Vanilla, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon. Everything is certified Organic by Ecocert, with established markets, almost all exports to Australia and New Zealand. Spices are all sold prepacked for ultimate retail sale, and sale to food service outlets. The Gatty Fiji brand is a quarantee of high quality. We have a system of “outgrowers” wjho grow for us, village families with small plots of vanilla. They supply much of our production. The plantation is close to Suva, jsut a 25 minute drive to the capital city, with all the amenities, telephone, electric, good roads. Jungle is all around, good for bushwalks, completely safe and tranquil with mountain views thta belong on a picture postcard. Two rivers and several streams are nearby for swimming, fishing, prawning. This is an on-going business with property. building (office building, packing shed, workers quarters), equipment and farm tools. All is available for F$2 million, plus actual cost of inventory (packaging supplies, labels, spices on hand).