|The Onomea Tea Company|
CEILING FANS SPIN ABOVE TABLES covered with mint-green cloths as we settle in for lunch and a farm at the Hawaiian Vanilla Company here in the rain-forest town of Paauilo,
an hour’s drive from the Big Island's sunny Kohala Coast.
Jelly jars filled with vanilla-scented iced tea and lemonade arrive, along with vanilla- infused sautéed shrimp, grilled chicken in a bourbon-vanilla-citrus marinade, and a salad tossed with a vanilla-spiked raspberry vinaigrette.
|A vanilla-inspired lunch at the Hawaiian Vanilla Co.|
Any regrets I had about leaving the beach behind to explore the agricultural side of an island normally associated with volcanoes and lava-rock fields disappear as quickly as our dessert of vanilla ice cream with passion-fruit curd. In business since 2000, Hawaiian Vanilla is among a handful of Big Island microfarms and culinary entrepreneurs welcoming visitors for a look behind the scenes.
|Wendell and Netta Branco of Long Ears Coffee Co.|
Find out more about the Big Island's agricultural and culinary scene in my "Taste of Hawaii'' story in the March issue of Virtuoso Life magazine.