Vanilla farming in Vaoala, Samoa

Posted by Shelley Burich on

About me

Tālofa lava. That is greetings in Samoan. I’m Shelley Burich. I am an indigenous Samoan, with Chinese & English heritage. I am a Wife, Mother, Nana and have a vanilla farm in the village of Vaoala (pronounced “Vow-ah-lah”), Samoa. 

Shelley Burich, owner and founder of Vaoala Vanilla in Samoa

Samoa is a small Polynesian island nation consisting of two main islands, two smaller islands and several uninhabited islands, located in the South Pacific. It has a population of only 200,000 people. Vaoala is located on the island of Upolu.

I have great love and affection for vanilla, and that love has turned me into the sole commercial vanilla farmer in Samoa. I am the founder of Vaoala Vanilla, a niche and organic vanilla farm.

Everything we do on our farm is nurtured and cared for with love and purpose, using organic, traditional growing methods and age-old hand-processing techniques – “Grown by Nature…Nurtured with Love”. We use indigenous story-telling and organic techniques of growing and producing our vanilla products - vanilla beans, vanilla syrups and vanilla extracts.

Grown by Nature

Vaoala vanilla shade structure, vanilla farming in Samoa

Only organic, traditional and hand-processing techniques are used to grow and process our vanilla.

For me, “grown by nature” refers to my strong belief in organic growing and practising natural

farming and growing methods, as best as I can, and with whatever natural resources I have available on my land already. Mother Nature is important to me and how I grow my vanilla. Everything that I use on my land e.g., pruned tree branches and leaves, mowed grass, is composted and mulched to give back to the earth and Mother Nature. I use natural resources such as bamboo, coconut husks, composting and homemade natural fertilizers to feed the vanilla vines. Our vines are “grown by nature”.

Nurtured by Love

pollinating vanilla flowers - vanilla farming in Samoa

 The love and passion I have for vanilla has grown over   the years. And they continue to grow as I see what they   produce for me.

 I started out as a hobbyist over 14 years ago. My   newfound knowledge of growing vanilla, through a lot of   trial-and-error practices, instilled in me a deeper   appreciation for this plant and what they were giving me   in return.

 Being a mother and grandmother, I am a natural   nurturer, and it is not different when I grow and produce vanilla. Everything I do is “nurtured with love”, it is who I am as a person and entrepreneur.

That’s all for now. In my next post I will write about what you can do with the vanilla beans. And if you wish to get your hands on some fine vanilla products, be sure to check out:

Vaoala Vanilla products

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  • Hi, do you have visitors to your vanilla farm and also can we buy the vanilla in Samoa? We area group of 11 women here from NZ. We are in Apia tomorrow (april 1) and keen on getting vanilla and would also love to visit if it was appropriate. Thanks

    Helen jackson on

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