Collection: Broken Nose Vanilla
Meet Fiona and Matt from Broken Nose Vanilla. Fiona’s background in horticulture and environmental management suits growing vanilla perfectly. Matt is a professor who has fallen in love with the land. Together, their vanilla enterprise has gone from strength to strength, gaining recognition across Australia.
“We aim to produce Australia’s consistently best quality vanilla and vanilla products.”
After a particularly cold, winter weekend spent poaching pears in vanilla and baking vanilla meringues, Fiona struck on the idea of growing vanilla. She and Matt had been considering a change of pace and a move back to Australia – it all seemed to fall into place. So began many years of research into how and where to grow vanilla in Australia.
One week before cyclone Larry hit them square on the nose, Fiona and Matt purchased their five-hectare property in a lush valley one hour south of Cairns under Queensland’s highest peak, Mt Bartle Frere, and its offshoot, Broken Nose. This was to become Broken Nose Vanilla.
Biological farming – It is a fine art and it's hands-on!
At Broken Nose Vanilla, Fiona and Matt pay particular attention to the soil by creating a mini ecosystem that cycles nutrients naturally, builds carbon and feeds the plants gradually, according to their seasonal need. They aim to nurture the environment to take care of their precious vanilla with no synthetic fertilisers, no pesticides, and generous mulch levels to feed the vanilla vines. Broken Nose Vanilla vines flourish in the natural rainfall and diverse ecosystem.
Vanilla loves to grow in a rainforest environment shaded and protected by the canopy, with ample moisture and plentiful leaf litter. Fiona and Matt have tried to recreate that in their plantation.
Vanilla is hand pollinated during the annual flowering season. Each flower blooms for only one day – that is the window for creating a vanilla pod. So, for around 10 weeks during the gorgeous tropical winter, Fiona and Matt are committed to pollinating every day.
The green pods are selected individually for harvest nine months later and cured over several weeks of sun heating and night-time resting. They are transformed into the familiar brown, oily, supple vanilla pods with superb quality and world-class flavour.