It was so nice and refreshing to read the story of Cook’s Vanilla and the family behind the business. The Lochhead family business started way back in 1918! Angus Lochhead saw a great sales opportunity in vanilla and later built a factory to supply for both bakeries and dairies around the Midwest. This business survived through the factory burning to the ground, The Great Depression, and World War II. Thereafter, Angus’ son Raymond Lochhead studied mechanical and chemical engineering at Cal Tech, where he explored the chemistry of vanilla. Ray had placed extensive experimentation on perfecting his slow, cold, direct extraction method to produce the best vanilla. To take his dedication even further, he began to study bean quality and curing methods around the world, in places like Madagascar, Bali, Tonga, Fiji, India, and Maurtius. Ray then set up vanilla curing operations in Bali and Fiji and also developed long lasting relationships with Madagascar and Tonga. Since the innovative time of their father and grandfather, Ray’s daughter and son-in-law continue to expand their operations. Their daughter, Margaret has a chemistry degree that she puts to good use at the in-house lab, and their other daughter, Susannah, continues to source the finest quality vanilla from their foreign partners. There you have it! Four generations of vanilla lovers. Just when you thought their story couldn’t get more interesting, they were also amongst one of the first companies to to promote organic certification for vanilla growers in Tonga.
We are proud to support such an innovative and creative family business! We are currently stocking an array of extracts for your baking needs: almond, cinnamon, cookie vanilla, pure vanilla and maple. If you’re anything like me, vanilla is constantly flying out of your pantry, and the grocery store does not have a high quality vanilla option! No need to worry though, we can now buy from the vanilla curing pioneers.