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  1. Product Making With The Vanilla Boys

    October 10, 2014 by

    A Family Business…
    It’s not easy owning your own business, it’s hard work. It’s a battle day in and day out. Some people will say that owning your own business allows you to create you own hours, take vacations when you want, and spend money when and where you want.
    Tracy and I really had no real plan to start our own company. We new we wanted to raise our family in a rural environment where we all cared for one another and were focused inward, towards each other. We had a dream, a vision of what the Hawaiian Vanilla Co. could become. If we really new how hard this was going to be in the beginning we probably would not have started the company. Today, we are sure glad we did. Our Vineyards are being restored, our work force is mostly family and the kids are ALMOST all grown up.

    But there is something greater in what we set out to do, and that is to raise a family. This is truly the hardest thing any parent will ever do. I higher task than any profession anywhere. And in order to do it right you have to finish well. Our oldest son Ian, is married and has a family of his own. Our daughter Emma is with us for just a couple more years and we cherish every moment with her. Our task to finish well is with our last three boys, Isaac, Elliot & Aidan. To teach and instruct the values of our family so they can take the values into their own lives and future families. It’s not easy, it’s hard.
    Here some photo’s of them getting ready for the Holiday Vanilla Product Rush.

    It’s more than creating your own 12 hour work days, taking trips when you can and wanting to spending money when you can’t. It’s about teaching them to be kind, honest and never give up on their dreams. Encouraging one another, and giving thanks in the difficult times…the photo I have including is from this Sat. Work day with the boys. All smiles while working, just
    finishing the day kicking off our holidays season with Tracy making beef stew, sparkling cinder, pumpkin candles and Harry Potter all 7.5 of them. Hope your holiday season is real.

  2. Whats the first thing you think of when you hear Vanilla…By Jim Reddekopp

    August 16, 2014 by

    It’s funny to think back for the first time I heard about vanilla. It had

    to be the thought of ice cream is as far back as I can remember.

    When I was a kid you would be out on Kawaihai in Hawaii Kai street

    playing and you would hear the music of the ice cream truck. We would

    have just enough time to run into the house and find loose change and then

    run out and stop him before he passed. My favorite, an orange dreamsicle

    that was filled with vanilla ice cream.

    Then I think back more recently, perhaps twenty years ago when

    I heard my in-laws talking about orchids and how vanilla was an

    orchid? It seemed so strange that vanilla of all things came from

    an orchid. But something that night triggered something in my

    brain and woke up the next morning to find out everything there

    is to know about this strange vanilla orchid. This was well before

    Google and You Tube and what I found was that there wasn’t

    much out there in the world that was written about vanilla, why?

    I have never been to the spice rack at our local market before

    my wife and I got married. But there I was, sent to the grocery

    store on an errand to find everything my wife had written on

    the list. I had come back a couple of times, saying “I couldn’t

    find any” but, had been taught to ask for help. I started to learn

    about nutmeg, cinnamon, different peppers, cardamon,  allspice,

    coriander and vanilla. I couldn’t believe the price, how could anything

    be that expensive?  20 years later of growing vanilla I have come to

    learn just about everything there is to know and why it has become the

    second most expensive spice after saffron.

    When, I first  started to find out where I could by vanilla cuttings it was

    really difficult to find. Someone told me the knew someone, who knew

    someone else that had some for sale. I never gave up, I was so driven

    to find plants that I could start to grow. I really felt determine that

    vanilla had potential to grow in Hawaii and that I could raise my family

    doing it. The first plants I found came from Liz at the Lyon Arboretum

    which is situated in the very back of Manoa Valley on the island of Oahu.

    I am not sure of the origin of the vanilla vines that I purchase here but

    the selling price was $1. per node (leaf). I bought 73 nodes that day

    and took it too our home in Kailua to begin my vanilla journey.

    I took the vine and cut it into segments with two nodes which made

    about 37 plants. I then cut the bottom node and let it sit for a couple

    of days. Using promix at the time and placed the bottom node over a four

    inch pot and covered the node I had cut with promix leaving the cut

    end of the vine exposed. Then I met someone who would change my life

    forever…Mr. Tom Kadooka.


    I’ve got more to share in my next blog…where you will meet my sensei

    and vanilla’s own Mr. Miyage!

  3. New Babies Have Arrived!

    August 6, 2014 by

    There’s nothing quite like the feeling a proud parent experiences when their child

    is born. This will be the third time in my life that I’ve help give birth to brand

    new vanilla vines in Hawaii,  this particular child starting its birthing journey 2

    years ago, on the Kona side of the Big Island of Hawaii.

    To start, we took small cuttings from the mother plants. These cuttings will

    eventually turn into big, healthy vanilla vines,  and the process will take about

    5 years. As they grow to maturity, I will share with you the journey.

    photo_5 (3)

    There are multiple ways that we welcome new vanilla plants into the vineyard.

    For one, we can take cuttings from fully matured vines.

    A meter long cutting takes at least two years to produce orchid flowers.

    Two node cuttings will take up to 3-4 years.

    2012 New Website Photos 013

    But to start with really clean plant material, you have to merristem, or tissue

    culture. This involves taking plant tissue from a desirable vanilla vine and cloning it

    in a fully sterile lab environment. A tissue cultured vanilla vine takes up to 5 years

    until its ready to flower.

    photo_3 (3)


    The end result is happy, healthy vanilla!

    photo_1 (4)

  4. Something Special for Fathers Day

    June 11, 2014 by

    With Father’s Day approaching quickly, I hope all of you are planning to do something special for those Dads in your life.

    June is a big month for my Jim, father of 5–he turned 51 on the fourth, celebrates Father’s Day and plus, we have our wedding anniversary as well (23 years!)


    We were married at sunset on Waikiki Beach at the Moana Hotel–truly a perfect setting. Jim likes the rock in this photo because he says it means our marriage is ‘solid’!

    We had 120 guests with an incredible menu with wine pairings. My Mom made scrolls for each of the guests with the menu–I’ll have to dig one of those out of the attic to see what

    we had–it all seems like a fairytale-like blur to me now. I do know it started off with a Champagne toast with strawberries before we went in to dinner…

    Here is the proud papa! Not the best photo, but this was a blustery day at the Polynesian Cultural Center on a visit to Oahu back in 2003.


    Here is Jim when he was about 10 years old when he lived in Hawaii Kai. What a cutie. You can see he hasn’t lost any of that zest for life!

    photo_1 (1)

    We have been on a flat bread pizza kick for a few weeks now and where once I loathed ‘pizza nights” (they were not my favorite nights–‘they’ meaning store bought pizzas–bleh), now I look forward to them. Jim has taken up making the dough. We use this recipe ( because this is our favorite pizza place when we travel. Just a note: instead of the sugar, we used our vanilla honey (add link) which made the dough utterly delectable! We roll the dough very, very thin, brush it with a scant amount of olive oil, bake it until lightly browned and then flip it to crisp the underside as well.

    Once they are par-baked, we slather them with our BBQ sauce, cheese, vanilla caramelized onions and pan fried-diced Portuguese sausage. Pop them back in the oven for just a few minutes until the cheese is bubbly and then let them cool–if you can wait that long! We also made some with pesto and shrimp that were really tasty. I love that there is not a ton of dough to chew through so the flavors of what is on top is what shines, and the crispness of the dough adds great texture.

    This past Friday I made some pork and fennel sausage and instead of making flat bread pizzas, we made calzones. We filled them with the sausage, mozzarella, Peccorino-Romano, sautéed mushrooms and onions and served them alongside a dipping marinara sauce that I loaded up with veggies. I always make a big chopped salad and top it off with our Champagne Vinaigrette to go with our pizzas.  This weekend we watched a cute old movie–Mr. Mom–the youngest boy had a blanket he called Wooby which is really weird because I had a blanket (up until I was engaged, I think!)–and I called mine Wubby!

    photo (7)

    The beer in the back ground of this photo was created by Ipo, who we traded some vanilla beans for about two years ago. He promised he would make us his home brew of a Vanilla Stout called Wakataua.  He was so gracious to stop by and bring Jim a bottle to try–he loved it! Hopefully he’ll make some more so we can serve it at one of our dinners. Don’t forget–our Mid Summer’s Night Dream, themed dinner is almost full and our July 26th. Dinner is filling up quickly. There will be live jazz (courtesy of Brandon & Emma) and the July dinner has speaker and author (and my Dad!) Dr. Gary Fuller speaking on the food that the Polynesians brought to Hawaii. Where else can you get good food, good music and learn something new? If you’d like to attend, call us at 808-776-1771 to secure your seats.

    Books we’re reading:

    Jim– All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot (and he loves it and has read aloud to all of us on many occasions some of the funny situations the English country veterinarian gets into)

    Tracy– Chestnut Lane by Maeve Binchy (I love her characters and the way she brings Ireland to life)

    What are you reading this summer? Do you have any favorite pizza toppings–please share them as I foresee many, many pizza nights to come in our home this summer!

  5. Peanut Butter-Chocolate-Oat-Cinnamon-Vanilla Yummies

    December 10, 2013 by


    One of my favorite comforting foods to eat is a bowl of Coaches Oats, laced with cinnamon,dotted with raisins, swirled with peanut butter and topped with a dusting of flaky sea salt. I can eat this at any time of day or night and be completely satisfied. This weekend, I decided to try to make a cookie with these ingredients–although, I am a bit of a dark chocolate fiend when it comes to cookies, so I dropped in some Ghiradelli’s 60% dark chocolate chunks and omitted the raisins (much to Elliot’s chagrin–he wanted raisins. I will make them again for him–with the raisins.) With upcoming entertaining and holiday cookie exchanges, this is a great recipe to try!

     Cookie pb (31 of 1)

    These have no added oil or flour, so if you use gluten free oats, they can be enjoyed by those with dietary restrictions. These are unbelievably good right after coming out of the oven–let them cool for about 10 minutes first, though! They are chewy and creamy with all the right flavors in one perfect bite, plus, they are hearty and satisfying enough so that one goes a long way. Aidan actually tried to pass one off for breakfast this morning. I hope you enjoy them as much as we are.



    Makes about 48 cookies (I used a medium sized cookie scoop OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop )


    1 1/3 Cup Coaches Oats (although, you can use another brand–I prefer using slow cooking oats)


    2 teaspoons baking powder


    2 teaspoons cinnamon


    2 teaspoons salt (I used Kosher sea salt, but am thinking that a sprinkling of Maldon flakes might be nice next time)


    2 Cups peanut butter (I used Costco’s organic creamy style)


    1 1/3 Cup packed brown sugar


    2 Tablespoons dark molasses


    2 Tablespoons Hawaiian Vanilla Extract


    4 eggs


    1, 10 oz. bag of 60% Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips (you can use less, but I like lots of chocolate–or, try raisins, I would use about 1 1/2 Cups)




    In a small bowl, combine oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.


    In a larger bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir until smooth and combined. Add in oat mixture, stirring until combines. Add in chocolate, again stirring until the chocolate is distributed.


    Using a medium sized cookie scoop, place scoops about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet (or, you can use a silpat mat Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat, 11 5/8 x 16 1/2-inches, Half Sheet Size ). I kept a cup of warm water to dip the scoop into and then with moist finger tips, smoothed the cookies into nice domes.


    Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Allow them to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack (or your mouth!)


    Store in an airtight container.

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