I spend my year between Motueka and Niue Island. The link is a small holiday homes business, a hand made coconut oil cottage industry and most important, Vanilla. An amazing spice to work with, I source my cured vanilla pods from local growers and curers. On Niue there are around 10 active vanilla growers and some cure their own crops. The vanilla is grown under a group Bio-Gro organic certification scheme. This covers only the growing, not the curing or value adding processes. On Niue I do extractions for Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Paste, as well as selling the cured pods. In Motueka I do the same hand extractions using the same method. It is far more economic to transport the cured pods to New Zealand than incur freight costs to and from Niue for all the process except the pods themselves. During my time in Motueka each summer I have a stall at the Nelson Farmers' Market and also go to summer shows and fairs in the district. Vanilla is an orchid, the only orchid to bear a seed pod. Vines are trained up support structures, often trees, and at flowering time, one flower on each bunch comes out per day, for a four to six week season. Every flower has to be hand pollinated, contributing to the cost of the labour intensive vanilla crop. The pods take nine months to mature and curing can take up to five months, all weather dependent. I then take a year to steep the pods to get a good extraction before the extract and paste are packed. Niue grows the Tahitian variety of vanilla, recognised as an excellent culinary vanilla.