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Article: Meet our Suppliers - The Story Behind Heilala Vanilla

Meet our Suppliers - The Story Behind Heilala Vanilla

Heilala Vanilla is synonymous with "the ultimate vanilla experience." Not only has is it endorsed by chefs globally, but it also proudly stands as the pioneer in vanilla world being the only vanilla company to be B Corp certified.

Our journey commenced in 2002 when John Ross, a retired New Zealand farmer, felt the call to action following a devastating hurricane in the Kingdom of Tonga. In exchange for providing employment to the local community, John was gifted a piece of land. To his surprise, he discovered the island's history of vanilla cultivation. Driven by curiosity and determination, he embarked on a quest to learn the intricacies of vanilla cultivation, travelling across continents. His journey led him back to Vava’u, where he planted the first seeds of our vanilla legacy.

 Upon harvesting our vanilla, John's daughter, Jennifer, uncovered a hidden gem - local New Zealand chefs were captivated by the exquisite flavour. Together, they co-founded Heilala, sharing a dual mission: to provide the world with premium, all-natural vanilla, and to catalyse positive change within the Tongan economy, focusing on various communities, especially empowering women.

 At Heilala, we oversee every facet of the vanilla production process - from nurturing orchid plants to the delicate art of hand-pollination, culminating in the careful harvest of each precious pod. Our commitment extends beyond our farms as we actively support 300 vanilla farming families in Tonga. Through the Heilala Vanilla Foundation, we contribute seeds, sanitation facilities, and school supplies to Tongan communities, reinforcing our dedication to sustainable growth and development.

 Furthermore, with every purchase of a Heilala Vanilla product, we pledge five cents to our foundation, fuelling sustainable projects in agriculture and education. This dynamic approach empowers Tongan families and rural communities, creating a lasting impact that resonates across generations.

 Today, Heilala is renowned not only for delivering vanilla adored by Michelin-starred chefs but also for its unwavering commitment to social progress and inter-generational self-sufficiency within the Kingdom of Tonga.

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