Meet Our Farmers
Margrit & Ernest
Margrit, pictured above is our interpreter/farmer liaison in France. Her dear friend Ernest, lives simply among ancient olive trees high in the hills above Entrevaux. He used to work for the German government, researching ways to naturally purify toxic land and water. After he retired, he brought his love for the plants and trees, and his respect for all that they can do for us, to France. An integral part of the Entrevaux community, Ernest proudly participates in local cultural pagents with his beautiful donkey. Actually, it was interacting with Ernest’s donkey that inspired Leonardo and I to rescue three local donkeys and have them be a part of our “farm family” at Shining Sun Farm.
Ernest produces our exquisite Rosemary Hydrolat in very limited quantities.
Luc, one of our young French farmers, produces some of our rarer essences, like Thyme Thuyanol. The picture of the hand-labeled tray of Thyme Thuyanol seedlings shown on our Wisdom of the Earth Difference page demonstrates the level of personal involvement our small farmers have with their plants and the land. The seedlings are started in small batches and then are transferred to the fields when ready. While Luc produces other, more commercially viable essences, he has a desire and a calling to preserve these rare, incredibly powerful medicinal plants/essences, so that they are not lost to humankind. This kind of commitment to the medicinal purpose of essential oils…not just the beautiful fragrance they possess…is uncommon, and we honor Luc for his labor-intensive efforts to cultivate these little-known, esoteric plant varieties that offer so much to us all.
Michel and his wife are Native Americans from Canada. They produce many of our beautiful conifer essences, such as Spruce (White), and Fir (Balsam). He is Abenaki and she is Micmac-Pawnee. Michel is a sub-chief of their tribe and his wife is a medicine woman. I will never forget the time Barry and I visited them in Canada. The tribe was having a Pow Wow, and Michel had their leadership and elders officially recognize us and welcome us to their dances and their land.
The next day, we traveled with them to the dense forest where they gather and distill White Spruce. They deeply honor the life-giving properties of medicinal plants and bring this respect and gratitude to their distillation process. They distill in ceremony…drumming and praying during the process and giving thanks to the beautiful trees who share their medicine with us.
Sylviane lives in a tiny village high in the mountains of Southern France. She produces our exquisite Highland Lavender from lavender hand-harvested atop Mt de Cheiron. The essence is distilled in her home, using a still that she had made according to her own specifications. Sylviane has welcomed our students into her home when we have visited France on our tours, and is a perfect examples of the heart-based farmers/distillers who are the foundation of OUR business.
The highland lavender is cut with a hand-held scythe, just as it was done hundreds of years ago by the peasants who provided the harvested lavender to the perfume industry in Grasse, France. Students who are studying medicinal plants and the process of distillation work for them for a few weeks each summer, personally experiencing the back-breaking, extremely demanding job of hand-cutting hundreds of pounds of lavender under the hot Provence sun.
These are just a few of the incredible farmers who are like family to us…and whom we trust to provide us with the rare and exceptionally pure essences and hydrolats that comprise the Wisdom of the Earth portfolio. Many of our essences are bio-dynamically farmed or wild-crafted (i.e., gathered wild, not cultivated). These types of production are a step above organic, and are rooted deeply in the natural rhythms of Mother Earth.