March seems to be flying right by me! This month has brought lots of bumps and celebrations for Be Kind Botanicals. Since I don’t like dwelling on the bumps, we will chat about those first. Someone asked recently how I find distillers…so I will see if I can give you a little insight to that process. And THEN I am announcing the winner of last month’s “Spring Equinox Blend.”
The first bump I ran into started with a delayed shipment of the South African Grapefruit essential oil and Spearmint. At the beginning of the month, unfortunately the package was lost by UPS. Having that much essential oil lost (it was a 20 pound package) was devastating after the long process for it to even be shipped after distillation.
I know how much you all love my current grapefruit and spearmint, so I have decided to continue working with the distiller I normally use for Pink Grapefruit here in the US. The price will go up due to the demand and the lessened availability of it after the hurricanes in the fall. I am not sure of the exact price increase yet and will not know until the grapefruit arrives.
As many of you know, I have several kilos of essential oils and cold pressed oils coming from Italy (finally). The delay in customs sometimes is BRUTAL! If you have ever ordered anything from overseas, it can take anywhere from two weeks to six weeks plus the time needed to pass through customs. For those of you who do not know, the United States Postal Service manages and operates our customs department. With the strict guidelines set out by Homeland Security, sometimes things can take a little (lot) longer than we would like. I finally spoke to someone regarding the location of my package which is stuck in customs yesterday…the hold up? They thought I paid too much for what was in the large box…
So today and likely some tomorrow, I will wait for my precious oils from Italy. But hey! Today is a happy day because today is the first official day of Spring!
This has been an ongoing source of patience, love, growth, frustration at times, and more patience mixed with excitement for when I do find a new distiller. With the power “Google” and the world wide web, you would think it would be easy to find distillers. Nope. If it were that easy, everyone would do it (Marge Clark says this frequently and for good reason!).
While some can be found with a google search if you know what country, city and plant you are searching for. However, that doesn’t mean they will be exactly what I am looking for… You see, there are a LOT of commercial distillers out there. Most only work with suppliers and brokers because of the large amount of essential oils they produce (for the food and beverage industry). So anytime I “find” a distiller using our friend Google I have to qualify them by asking a series of questions.
Just these few questions are often enough to tell me what I need to know about the distiller. If they answer in a manner that suits my small businesses needs, I then able to qualify them even further to where I might place them on my “list.”
Most of the distillers I work with, I have been introduced to via teachers and some I have had the fortune of meeting in person at professional conferences like the last one I attended for the Alliance of International Aromatherapists. A few I have even met through social media groups.
Then there are maybe a couple that have sought me out in emails. I take a lot of precautions with those though. Anyone who contacts me, I typically ask a LOT of questions of and will ask colleagues or chemists about them to ensure they are legitimate. Depending on the time of year (harvest) I may get a few emails a week from various unknowns. Many of these do not get a second look as they appear to be suppliers versus distillers… While I hold nothing against suppliers and do have to use a few from time to time, I prefer not to work with an unknown supplier.
A distiller I will investigate more readily and take the time to ask questions. Mostly because I want to make sure they are who they say they are and because I need to make sure they can be trusted. With so many who trust me, I need to have that trust with anyone I work with. If I can’t trust someone, how can someone trust me?
Remember the spearmint I wanted from South Africa? Well, I have been blessed to “e”-meet a distiller online. We have been in communication for a couple weeks and I am hoping once the sample arrives that it will match the aromatic profile I know you all love as much as I do. The distiller is a fourth generation distiller and his farm actually makes teas and other treats for the locals. Although he does not fit into my normal artisan distiller category entirely, he does allow locals to come and hand harvest the mint he produces to make their own teas, tinctures, and so on. This is really pretty awesome in my humble opinion! I am really looking forward to learning more about him and hopefully having a spearmint that is one that I will be able to share with you all soon.
Did I mention that I am getting the last liter of Helichrysum hydrosol from Chris Burder’s recent distillation? I do not sell a LOT of it, so this is a special treat to be able to get more. I am excited and honored to be able to get it for all of you!
I had several really good suggestions for this years Spring Equinox blend name. I actually took the time to research each name and the potential relationship that each one has. The one that stuck out the most was submitted by Nancy Lynn – CONGRATULATIONS Nancy! The newly updated name is “Ostara.” Thank you all for participating and helping me with the naming of this year’s Spring Equinox blend!
For now I am off to do some volunteer work and hopefully get a few more things completed on my “todo” list including some reflection. I hope you all have a wonderful first day of Spring.