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.
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
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
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: https://vaoalavanilla.com.