White sand, turquoise sea and blue sky – the most beautiful location on the planet.
The unsurpassed beauty of the Vava’u Islands in the Kingdom of Tonga combines the most pristine of conditions perfect for the growing of vanilla. With the help of the Latu family under the expert guidance of John Ross, a vanilla plantation sprawls across the gifted land.
Vanilla is traditionally grown in the wild climbing larger host trees. By replicating this environment with a purpose built shade house and coconut husk frames we can ensure optimum conditions for the vanilla plants. Our shade house development was the first of its kind in Tonga and acknowledged by MAF as a significant step forward for the local vanilla industry.
Following the establishment of the Heilala Vanilla plantation in Vava’u and the growth of the “Heilala" brand we have partnered with growers throughout Tonga all proudly growing Bourbon Vanilla beans.
In 2012 we established a Vanilla Information Centre in the form of a traditional Tongan Fale. Tours of the plantation are now available along with a viewing of the Information Centre. The Plantation is open to visitors by prior appointment only between 9am and 3pm Monday to Friday by phoning Sofaia on +676 870 1569, Sela on +676 751 8761 or Talavao on +676 879 3246 . The cost is $10 TOP per person – group discounts for over 8 people.
We have recently partnered with a new group of vanilla growers in Madagascar to ensure continuity of supply and more importantly financial security for our group of Tongan growers. This additional supply of vanilla beans has been selected as they match the flavour profile of the Tongan beans and will only be used when required in our Vanilla Extracts.
Recently our Vanilla Guru, John Ross, visited the Cook Islands to provide input on their developing Vanilla Industry. John brought back a small amount of the Cook Islands Tahitian Vanilla variety which we plan to have available on our website in the very near future for those vanilla connoisseurs that request another Vanilla variety from the Pacific.