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Thai Basil - Case
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My name is Saili Levi owner and founder of Laie Vanilla Company. I was born in Samoa and moved to Hawaii when i was six years of age. We moved to Laie in 1991 and I've been connected with Laie ever since. I am married to a Laie native girl of Hawaiian decent and we have three beautiful girls.
I have been farming commercially for three years now, but farming has always been a way of life for me. I grew up on a taro plantation with ulu, bananas and tapioca. When I grew older i wanted to grow a crop that was unique and different so when i came across Vanilla I was very interested. One of the biggest reasons why i gravitated towards Vanilla was it is the second most expensive spice in the world and that sold me. So i run a family business with my wife and three girls.
We grow our Vanilla in a 70% shade cloth. We use peat moss, coconut husk, perlite and compost as a medium and chicken manure or worm casting as fertilizer. We rarely use pesticide but when we have to we try to use safe alternatives like neem oil and other homemade remedies but if it does not work we use bonide systemic insect control. But we are careful with how and the amount we use.