Samoa's Vaoala Farm proves there's nothing vanilla about the vanilla business

In the hills of Samoa sits the Vaoala Vanilla Farm, where owner Shelley Burich has turned her hobby into a labour of love and hard work.

Through her Facebook lives and website updates, Burich aims to offer an authentic experience of a living organic Pacific Vanilla Farm that is 100 per cent Samoan indigenous and nurtured.

“I really love what I do with the vanilla, I love growing it - I talk to them because they're my babies - I've just got a very deep passion,” she said.

Most people are familiar with vanilla because it's widely used in both commercial and domestic baking, as well as being a desired scent in perfume manufacturing and aromatherapy.

However, growing vanilla is very labour intensive and, as a result it is the second-most expensive spice in the world after saffron.

“One thing I need to build up here in Samoa is the supply capacity, as I am the only farm that is producing vanilla at this level and exporting it.

“My product is wanted. But I can't meet the supply capacity, so I want to encourage farmers who want to diversify from their crops to get in touch,” she said.


Photo Facebook Vaoala Vanilla Farm Caption: Shelley Burich with her vanilla plants