French Polynesia/Moorea: Vanilla Farms

French Polynesia is known for its vanilla production. Vanilla, which is actually an orchid and not a bean, is the second most expensive spice in the world after saffron due to the difficulty of growing it and need for manual pollination. There are several vanilla farms on Moorea (and other islands), mostly small family-sizes production growing vanilla in old coconut compost under shaded cover. The vanilla flowers are beautiful white orchids that then turn into long green pods that are collected and dried over 3-5 months and turn into black pods that are used as vanilla spice.