The vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia) is one of the world’s most interesting plants. Of the nearly 35,000 species of orchid, the second largest botanical family of plants, vanilla is the only species that produces an edible fruit. True vanilla is a sought after product, usually the second most expensive spice in the world, yet we associate the word vanilla with plain, boring, and commonplace. Native to Mexico and Central America, the vanilla vine is well suited for any tropical homestead. Yet vanilla is a particular plant requiring special care, in particular during pollination where every flower must be hand pollinated.
A few months back a series of clients began asking me questions that I didn’t have the answers to. I knew just enough about the topics to know what I didn’t know. One client wanted to know about building restrictions around a small body of water, another needed information about opening up land for a road through an existing forest, and a third was seeking support to enroll in the FONAFIFO Environmental Service Payment program.
Ever have a challenging time finding your favorite plant in Costa Rica? Or wonder where to get supplies for a new greenhouse? What about organic pesticides?
After nearly a decade working in country, our team has compiled a comprehensive list of nurseries, seed banks, botanical gardens, and farm/garden suppliers. In the past we shared this document with students and clients, but with our new website we have the means to make it available to the all the gardeners, landscapers, and farmers in country.