Sara Kubiak and her husband, Andy, founded the Vanilla Bean Project (VBP) five years ago in Lakeland, Minnesota. The couple produces and distributes vanilla products in many forms, including vanilla beans.
“Most people don’t really know what a vanilla bean looks like,” said Kubiak, “they’re surprised to find out that they look similar to green beans when they are harvested from the vines.” These little beans pack a potent punch, though, and are must-haves to complete any kitchen. VBP products come in a variety of mediums from the popular vanilla extract to the rich aroma and flavor of the vanilla bean paste.
Why not? Kubiak and her husband had a background in the food industry but just weren’t satisfied. After exploring many different options, they decided to get into the vanilla industry.
“There's just so much you can do with vanilla. There are so many opportunities,” explained Kubiak. She went on to say the people who know vanilla and love it, REALLY love it!
They sold their first two ounce bottle of vanilla extract at a local farmers market and their first gallon jug to a bakery in a natural foods co-op. They haven’t looked back since. Now located in grocery stores and other retailers, the popularity of their products is on the rise.
“We work with lots of local coffee shops and creameries. They love supporting other Minnesota-made companies,” said Kubiak.
Regenerative Organic Certified
“We want to make the world a better place with the products we offer.”-Sara Kubiak, Co-Founder Vanilla Bean Project
Many factors make VBP unique in the industry, but most notable is the label of Regenerative Organic Certified. The process of becoming certified is well worth it according to Kubiak.
“Becoming Regenerative Organic Certified is not about just producing organic products, it's about making a commitment to animal rights, workers’ rights and making sure farmers get paid fairly for their crops. These are some of the values VBP was founded on and it just made sense to get certified,” explained Kubiak. The Vanilla Bean Project is the first to produce Regenerative Organic Certified vanilla extract, making them a leader in the industry.
“We hope this is just the beginning,” said Kubiak, “we believe in the near future we will see other industries, like chocolate, start to take the next steps towards Regenerative Organic Certification.”
On top of being Regenerative Organic Certified, VBP keeps a clean label on their products using only the highest quality ingredients. They use actual ground vanilla for their paste and don’t add sugar to their extract.
The Minnesota Connection
“We are so grateful for the infrastructure we have and the local community,” said Kubiak. Recently, a Kare 11 news story hit the air about VBP and their recent Regenerative Organic Certification.
“The response to that story was immediate,” explained Kubiak as more and more people started taking notice of the company.
“We always have had immediate connections with other Minnesota companies,” said Kubiak. “Once our customers find out that we are local, that just makes them even more excited about the things we are doing and the products we offer.”
Check out the Vanilla Bean Project in our latest MinnBox!
Minnesotans love supporting other Minnesotans! We are proud to have the Vanilla Bean Project in our new I Love Minnesota box. Visit our website to check it out!