mardi 7 février 2012

Bourbon vanilla , Nossy be

In the fifteenth century, Aztecs invading from the central highlands of Mexico conquered the Totonacs, and soon developed a taste for the vanilla pods. They named the fruit "tlilxochitl", or "black flower", after the matured fruit, which shrivels and turns black shortly after it is picked. Subjugated by the Aztecs, the Totonacs paid tribute by sending vanilla fruit to the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan.

Until the mid-19th century, Mexico was the chief producer of vanilla. In 1819, however, French entrepreneurs shipped vanilla fruits to the islands of Réunion and Mauritius in hopes of producing vanilla there. After Edmond Albius discovered how to pollinate the flowers quickly by hand, the pods began to thrive. Soon, the tropical orchids were sent from Réunion Island to the Comoros Islands and Madagascar, along with instructions for pollinating them.

The majority of the world's vanilla is the V. planifolia variety, more commonly known as Bourbon vanilla (after the former name of Réunion, Île Bourbon) or Madagascar vanilla, which is produced in Madagascar and neighboring islands in the southwestern Indian Ocean, and in Indonesia.

Good vanilla will only come from good vines and through careful production methods. Commercial vanilla production can be performed under open field and "greenhouse" operations. Both production systems share the following similarities:

  • Plant height and number of years before producing the first grains.
  • Shade necessities.
  • Amount of organic matter needed.
  • A tree or frame to grow around (Bamboo, coconut or Erythrina lanceolata).
  • Labor intensity (pollination and harvest activities).

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