Anna over at Life’s Too Short for Mediocre Chocolate offers up this piece of advice for people looking for vanilla beans:
I forgot to mention, if you have Costco where you live, you can get a pack of 2 vials of vanilla beans for about 7 bucks, and they each have three or four beans inside. They are always very plump and fragrant, and I use them often.
UPDATE: Reader Jeff writes in with this:
You can find really, really good vanilla beans for the best price around (far better than Costco even!) at www.saffron.com. Also, good prices on high quality saffron.