Pat Shingleton: "An Anniversary and Harvesting Vanilla"
I neglected to note that July 17th marks an anniversary of importance to all of us. It’s the 115th anniversary of the invention of modern air conditioning. In the 1900s, a Brooklyn printing plant was the first building in the world to be air conditioned by Dr. Willis Haviland Carrier. Older Baton Rouge homes still have a large attic fan that prior to air conditioning was used to move air from room to room. Carrier’s cooling plant divided the air into two streams, one heated and the other cooled. In each room, these two air streams are proportionately mixed to produce a desired temperature. One way to "cool-down" is that favorite treat, the ice cream cone. Tucked away on a mountainside in Paauilo Hawaii is the Hawaiian Vanilla Company. Tom Kadooka started cultivating vanilla orchids in 1941 and landed on an abandoned vanilla plant in 1941. While others were harvesting Hawaii’s famous Kona coffee, Tom determined that five acres of coffee would net $15,000 while vanilla could do the same on about a quarter of an acre. The climate in Hawaii is perfect for the cultivation of Vanilla planifolia but the plant must be hand-pollinated to produce a vanilla bean pod.