This week, my husband I took a 3700 mile trek from Minnesota to Washington for a family wedding. We chose a leisurely pace for the return, doing a bit of sight-seeing which included a tour of the first Young Living farm nestled deep in the woods of St. Maries, Idaho...only accessible via steep, gravel roads over mountainous terrain. That alone is a wheel-gripping experience!
Gary Young planted the original crop of Lavender with seeds from Provence, France. Did you know there are more than 14 different types of Lavender? The lavender harvest occurred in late July, so the fields appear quite bare.
Our tour began with the distillation process. Four vats are filled with freshly harvested plant material… 906 liters of it in each vat is exposed to carefully controlled steam pressure.
Oil is extracted and flows down into a multi-stage collection device. After several hours of distillation, a few cups to a few gallons of essential oil is produced, depending on which plant is being processed. The leftover plant material is lifted from the vats and composted. One of the byproducts of distillation is hydrosols….water infused with plant constituents which makes an amazing spa experience for the aching planters. Nothing is wasted.
Fields are hand planted; the plot shown holds 123,000 plant-lings. That’s a lot of tender-lovin’-planting! It will take 2-3 years for the Melissa plants to mature, and then produce for 8-10 years.
Melissa is a very ‘sensitive’ plant that is handled with much care, for if it touches the ground, important constituents of the plant are destroyed. Melissa will only generate 3 cups of oil from that enormous amount of plant material! No wonder it’s so priceless!
The entire experience was so revealing. The care of the seeds, the soil, the distillation process, chemical analysis to verify purity and potency, the demanding standards of practice.....deepen my appreciation for the quality of the products I use.
While those who sell the product get a lot of recognition as educators, the real soul of the company is the farm staff who skillfully cultivate and harvest the crops. Sincere kudoes to Kevin and Jaclyn Sagers and their select team of essential farm staff.
With Young Living farms scattered across the globe, my bucket list just got a whole lot longer!