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Hidden Gem: Hawaiian Vanilla Co.

Okay, I'm a bit biased because I did marketing for this company for a season, but this multi-generational family business is truly a gem of the Hamakua Coast.

This experience with Hawaiian Vanilla Co. (the first commercial growers of vanilla in the U.S.) is tucked away in the hills of Pauuilo. It's educational and delicious.

The tour and luncheon are a little pricey, but I think it's well worth it and what better way to give back than to support a local (and ethical!) family business. The meal is infused with vanilla in every dish. On the tour, you'll walk through the vanilla vineyards while learning all there is to know about the history of vanilla around the world and where it's at today.

The tour is fascinating, the food is delicious, and the gift shop makes for the most thoughtful (and practical!) gifts for loved ones back home (I highly recommend the vanilla extract making kit and the pineapple chutney!).

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