This week on The Farm Report, host Erin Fairbanks is joined in the studio by Matt Nielsen, the chief operations officer for Nielsen-Massey Vanillas Inc. and Managing Director of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas International BV.

Matt began working in the family business when he was 15 years old, sweeping floors and cleaning tanks; today his responsibilities include overseeing all operations at the company's headquarters and manufacturing facility in Waukegan, Illinois, as well as its manufacturing facility in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

 Matt Nielsen


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"There's a lot of little nuances to it that people don't think about: the fact that it's from an orchid, that it's grown in tropical areas, and that it has to be hand-pollinated. It's a huge part of why the process is so long, and why vanilla is so expensive, the second most expensive spice after saffron." [4:55] – Matt Nielsen