Tuesday, April 18, 2017
If you’re a baker like I am, or even just a simple maker of desserts, vanilla is always at the top of the ingredients list. I used to buy vanilla at Costco or Sam’s club, not too awfully long ago, large bottles for less than $9.00, so imagine my horror when on my last trip to Sam’s Club I was aghast!! $23.00—yikes! I decided I needed to get to the bottom of this outrage. Little did I realize that the largest grower of vanilla beans is Madagascar-who knew? What I also learned is that the US is one of the largest buyers of vanilla. In 2015, there was a huge shortage of vanilla beans harvested in Madagascar, so like everything else, it’s all about supply and demand. Since 2005, there had been an over supply of the delicious crop and farmers in Madagascar weren’t making much money so they burned their vanilla vines and switched to a more profitable crop—hence, not much vanilla and UP go the prices. Madagascar is back in the vanilla growing business but in an effort to reach the higher prices, the beans are picked while they’re still green rather than drying naturally on the vine, resulting in a less than quality product. Futures tend to be looking to Mexico and Papau New Guinea for vanilla, only time will tell. I will definitely be watching the market for trending prices. Happy, or not so happy, baking.