Thursday, June 1, 2017

Ingredient Update—Vanilla

Catastrophic crop loss means price increase.

Devastating Hurricane
In Madagascar, on the morning of March 7, tropical cyclone (hurricane) Enawo made landfall with sustained winds of 145 mph. For the next two days the island country was battered. Dozens died, tens of thousands were displaced and almost all residents felt severe loss. The United Nations humanitarian relief information source estimated that 100% of the crops in two important regions were submerged and destroyed.

One of the devastated crops is the vanilla bean. Madagascar is the near-exclusive source for the world’s vanilla beans. It produces about 80% of the vanilla annually consumed. The record-low harvest resulted in soaring prices.

Vanilla that formerly cost $50 is now $500 and is heading higher. There is no alternative for real vanilla and no expectation of a quick return to normal prices. Vanilla bean plants take three to five years to mature.

Vanilla is a crucial ingredient in many of Breadsmith’s recipes—and is a component of other ingredients (such as chocolate). Long ago we decided to only use the finest ingredients: fresh blueberries from northern Wisconsin and Michigan, hand-cut locally-grown zucchini, organic eggs from Larry Schultz farms and, yes, Madagascar vanilla—not imitation vanilla flavoring.

This means our prices must increase.

We intend on continuing to source only the finest ingredients that support local efforts, produce outstanding flavors and sustainably support future generations.

Thank you for your understanding.

David and Robin Wright

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