hoping this link works:
interesting review of a few vanilla pods.
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Posted 21 September 2013 - 11:33 AM
From the article:
"Native to Mexico, this edible member of the orchid family was carted back to Europe by Hernán Cortés along with other riches of the Aztecs. Today, vanilla is produced in more than a dozen countries around the world, mostly on small farms where the pods are hand-pollinated, picked at the peak of ripeness and then put through a monthslong curing process that gives them their trademark brown, leathery appearance. Only Tahitian vanilla represents a distinct species; elsewhere, flavors ranging from butterscotch to saddle leather are the result of differing soil conditions and curing methods, not genetics."
Posted 21 September 2013 - 11:36 AM
I used to get Mexican vanilla brought back by friends for < 25 cents a pod. it was really good stuff. I preferred it.