NZ Herald: Tropical ‘first’ in backyard

Issac Davison of the New Zealand Herald reports on a Tauranga couple’s successful attempt to create a tropical climate in their backyard.

The purpose of the project was to build a space in which the couple could grow vanilla pods – the first time such a crop has been commercially grown in New Zealand (or outside of the tropics). The microclimate is maintained using a sophisticated, computer-controlled heating system.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Mr Boggiss said the cooler end of the temperature range had produced vanilla pods with a distinct flavour.

“”Vanilla is a bit like wine – it is described differently in every region that it’s grown in. Mexican vanilla is woody, Madagascan is rummy, Tongan is like raisin. A semi-formal assessment, by smelling it, showed our vanilla had a chocolate-y flavour, which is exciting, because it’s different.”

“Their first local yield is a tiny 600 pods, weighing 2kg.”

“The first taste-test will come at the Government’s global warming dinner this month.”