Grading Vanilla beans

Grading Bourbon Vanilla beans in Madagascar

I have been offered the opportunity to spend two weeks working in Madagascar this October. Short notice and an unexpected expense, but full of potential. I will stay with Vanilla farmers, distil an unusual Elemi, and look at creating value-added products and direct sales that will benefit harvesters, farmers, and their communities. If I can get myself there.

Madagascar is the world’s largest supplier of Bourbon Vanilla and provides us a good portion of our Cloves, Cinnamon, Peppercorns, Ginger and other spices. It is also home to some of the world’s finest Cacao and unique resin-bearing trees that grow nowhere else. All in all a paradise for perfumers, herbalists, apothecaries, distillers and the aromatically inclined.


Almost ripe Vanilla beans

Traditionally, the trade in medicinal and aromatic plants is profit driven with a focus on the bottom line alone. Little thought is given to fair trade practices that benefit harvesters, farmers and their communities. Sadly, there is also a great lack of foresight when it comes to sustainable harvesting in the wild, and agricultural practices that preserve or benefit the local ecological balance.

We are slowly eroding our forests and natural landscapes, losing not only our medicinal and aromatic species, but our wildlife through mismanagement. Madagascar is home to some of the most unusual and unique wildlife on the planet and already losing species through our carelessness. As with my ongoing work with harvesters in East Africa, my goal is to create or source both fair trade and sustainable aromatics and provide them as directly as I can from the harvesters/farmers to my customers.

Since for the most part, I fund my life and all my projects through sales in my Etsy shop, an unexpected trip means getting creative with sales. To this end, I am taking advantage of the shop’s coupon and discount code option to see if I can get enough money together to pay for this trip in the next couple of weeks. It’s short notice and a gamble, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. If I can’t make it to Madagascar this October, that’s OK too and I will definitely visit in the near future.

I am offering a rare 10% discount in the shop for the next 2 weeks. You can use it as often as you like, share it with friends or family and pass it on. The discount code is Madagascar2016  and you will be prompted to type it in at checkout.

After publishing this post I have received numerous comments that asked for the total amount I need for this project and requests to make available an option to donate rather than purchase something from my shop.

I need a minimum of $2,000.00 cover the cost of tickets and some of the basic expenses while I am in Madagascar. In response to the second request I am inserting a Paypal “Donate” button below and in the sidebar of the blog.

If I do get to Madagascar this October, I promise to do my best to post pictures when internet is available, and of course, on my return there will no doubt be aromatic treats circulating among my customers and internet friends.

A deep and warm thank you in advance for everyone’s support for my work, both financial and moral. I could do none of this without you.

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P.S. After you donate through PayPal, you will receive a receipt on behalf of New Dawn Herbal Apothecary. This is the brick and mortar version of Apothecary’s Garden, it is one and the same though the names are different. Dan

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