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Rain's Choice Vanilla
Flavorful. Sustainable. Simply the Best.

I just wanted to say thank you for all of the hard work that you have done and are doing to represent small farmers in the tropics. You are a living treasure. - Shani

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Did you know there is a dark side to fair trade vanilla? According to the World Fair Trade Organization, the definition of Fair Trade is as follows: “Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seek greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading [...]

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Have you noticed that the cost of cookies, cakes and ice creams have gone up? Most  desserts use  vanilla, and vanilla prices are skyrocketing in 2013. Could that be it? And why is vanilla getting so expensive? The answer may surprise you. Read on. Like everything else, the cost of vanilla is affected by supply [...]

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Changing the World One Woman at a Time African Women’s Leadership Summits: Kenya and Uganda 2013 On July 29th, 2013, I leave for East Africa. I’ll be facilitating two African Women’s Leadership Summits, then visiting the farms and projects of many of these women leaders. Also, I will finally meet, in person, hundreds of generous, [...]

This report comes from Aust and Hachmann, Canada and is based on the North American Vanilla Bean  Importer’s Association (NAVBIA) report. I am adding to this report the latest information on Mexican beans. Mexico had a disastrous year in 2011 due to extreme heat and drought, and  had 10% of their normal crop. 2012 was [...]

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As farmers anywhere in the world can testify, as the climate changes, so does the health of their crops. For those of us who are not farmers, we hear a lot about the effects of climate change in the arctic and antarctic but we don’t hear much about what’s happening in the tropical regions of [...]

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Another vanilla crisis? Didn’t we just have one? Yep, we sure did and the price of a little bottle of vanilla was ridiculously high! So how can this be happening again? Sadly, very easily.  Worse, it shouldn’t have to happen! In the commodity world the operative words are  supply and demand. When it comes to anything [...]

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How do we measure time?  Years, decades, significant events, transformative experiences? I’ve been pondering this over the past few weeks  for a couple of reasons.  The Vanilla.COMpany launched ten years ago August 21st. Three weeks later, we collectively paused to acknowledge the impact of 9-11 and the ensuing decade.   Ironically, it was while using 9-11 as [...]

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In the US, when we think of Mars candies, Three Muskateers,  Milky Way, Mars bars, M & M’s Twix, Skittles and Snickers come to mind.  Affordable, sentimental,  junk food that bring back memories of school and Halloween binges.  But Fair Trade?  Not likely. Interestingly enough, according to Wikipedia, the Mars family (known for their secrecy) [...]

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The North American Vanilla Bean Importers Association (NAVBIA) has launched a new website.  The association was formed by several vanilla trading companies who are very concerned about the continued low prices of vanilla and how this is affecting vanilla growers worldwide.  The low prices, caused in part by companies who are not adhering to the [...]

Every Mother’s Day I feel conflicted. Not that I don’t like the idea, I’m a mom, after all, and it’s wonderful to be acknowledged and adored. But I also think about how Mother’s Day began and how vitally important it was until the 1920s when advertisers turned the day into a commercial bonanza with mushy, sentimental cards, boxes of chocolates and large bouquets. Even that would have been okay if the real meaning hadn’t been lost in the bon-bons.

Since its designation as a holiday in 1914, Mother’s Day has grown so much that it is now the second largest holiday for retail spending (Christmas is the largest). 25 percent of flowers purchased annually are bought for Mother’s Day.

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Have you noticed that prices for cocoa powder and chocolate have gone up recently?  One of the members of the Baker’s Dozen, San Francisco group was shocked when he priced a 4-1/2 pound pail of cacao recently. Sticker shock should be no surprise.  There’s a horrendous political standoff in Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) that began [...]

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Theresia Ndirangu is a single, 42-year-old Kikuyu woman from Kenya with both the focus and determination to succeed at anything she believes in, despite having faced staggering hardships.  Her goal is to earn her Masters and PhD degrees in Applied Human Nutrition.  Her dream is to receive a masters and Ph.D., then to return to Kenya and work with [...]

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A few years ago I thought about launching a non-profit for the benefit of farmers and the promotion of pure vanilla.  Between running my business, moderating The International Tropical Farmers Network, a Google group I launched for farmers, scientists and others interested in the issues of the vanilla industry and/or tropics, and being in aggressive [...]

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Some changes have occurred in the world market over the last year which may be helpful for farmers growing certain luxury crops.  Unfortunately, it’s often at the expense of other farmers.  The January floods in North- and Southeast Australia, Sri Lanka and Brazil have caused tremendous suffering for thousands of people.  We are definitely seeing [...]

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This article is written by Jeffrey Smith, an outspoken author and whistle blower who has exposed precisely what has been going on with Monsanto and their attempts to corner the commercial market with their genetically modified seeds.  PLEASE read this article and share it with your friends and families.  It is critically important that poorly [...]

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I discovered this article in Time Magazine recently.  It gave me greater hope that there is a way to turn around creeping desertification and loss of rainfall and water. I encourage you to follow this link and read about how the Sahel in Africa is slowly being changed. LAND OF HOPE by Alex Perry/Archer’s Post [...]

Although much has been written about the devastating effects of global climate change on the North and South poles, the tropical band that runs around the center of the Earth is also experiencing significant changes that are negatively affecting the tropical foods and flavors we use daily and love so much. NASA reported in December [...]

chameleon w vanilla vine

Written by Sarah Osterhoudt of From the Field Trading When my husband and I first walked through the forest vanilla gardens in the community of Imorona, Madagascar, where we spent two-and-a-half years as Peace Corps Environment Volunteers, we were amazed by the diversity of the landscape. We observed vanilla vines growing interspersed with fruit trees, [...]


In the summer of 2007 I  met Chris Barden of Worldwide Farmers Exchange (WFE), a program operating out of Berkeley California.  We were attending an event at Santa Clara University.  Over lunch together, I learned that Chris was interested in finding women farmers to participate in their exchange program.  I was interested in WFE as [...]

The following information contains the 2010 predictions of the primary luxury crops produced in the tropics.  This information is based on research I’ve done online or that was sent to me.  If you have additional information on any of the current annual price predictions for tropical foods, flavors or ingredients,  please send it and I [...]

My friend, Bharat Pandya wrote this article to share his experience using natural pesticides for plants.  He practices traditional, sustainable farming based on ancient Indian Vedic texts as well as uses the best of modern sustainable farming methods. I invited Bharat to write an article for us on natural pesticides as he has researched this [...]


When Lulu Sturdy inherited her uncle’s run-down Ugandan estate, she found herself alone on a failing farm in a war zone. Seven years on, she has built it into a Fairtrade phenomenon. Vanilla GuerillaCourtesy of Lulu Sturdy Two violent incidents brought me to where I am today. The first was the unexpected death of my [...]

Preventing and Managing FusariumCourtesy of David Gardella: www.rainforestvanilla.org Vanilla is a magnificent tropical crop, but it comes with challenges.  Most vanilla producers fall in love with vanilla as she draws everyone under her spell.  Vanilla requires no special fertilizers or pesticides.  It thrives on a simple mulch of leaves, twigs, coconut husks, etc.  While it [...]


 Courtesy of Mike Keller:   (MikeKeller2@mac.com) Jatropha curcas, a humble tropical shrub-like tree often used as a living fence in developing countries, may actually be headed for star status as a prime source of bio-fuel in the 21st century. As research scientists and engineers first considered biofuels in the US and Europe, ethanol made from corn [...]

Spice News: This Blog Helps Veracruz Coffee Grower Find a Market in South Korea Courtesy of Courtenay Dunk: www.spicelines.com You’ve heard of the “butterfly effect,” haven’t you? It’s the idea, put forth by Conrad Lorenz, that the whisper soft beating of of a butterfly’s wing may stir up air currents that create a storm thousands [...]

coffee growing

Courtesy of Courtenay Dunk: www.spicelines.com “We are starving.” Ruperto Opoch has a natural grace born of equal parts humility and excellence at his chosen metier. He is the third generation of his family to run Predio Guayabal, a small organic finca outside Coatepec, the coffee-growing capital of Veracruz. At 70-odd years, his thick, carefully combed [...]

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Courtesy of Courtenay Dunk: www.spicelines.com “We are starving.” Ruperto Opoch has a natural grace born of equal parts humility and excellence at his chosen metier. He is the third generation of his family to run Predio Guayabal, a small organic finca outside Coatepec, the coffee-growing capital of Veracruz. At 70-odd years, his thick, carefully combed [...]

Op-Ed Contributor: The Broken Promise of Nafta January 6, 2004 By Joseph E. Stiglitz The celebrations of Nafta’s 10th anniversary are far more muted than those involved in its creation might have hoped. In the United States, the North American Free Trade Agreement has failed to fulfill the most dire warnings of its opponents and [...]

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Female Coffee Growers Find New Freedoms in Peru By Sadie Hoagland – WeNews correspondent NUEVO YORK, Peru (WOMENSENEWS)–Her hands move methodically down the branch, raking the red coffee cherries into the basket around her neck. She moves to the next branch, demonstrating the work of harvesting coffee. Watching her dexterity and strength, one would never [...]

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Be part of the 1% solution!

99% of vanilla fragrances and flavors are actually artificial.We can change that. If we purchase only products using pure vanilla all the time, and if we encourage our family and friends to do the same, hundreds of additional farmers will grow vanilla. this means thousands more children can go to school, have enough to eat and have medical care. Be part of the 1% Solution. Buy only pure vanilla!
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