The basic definition of Farm-Sourced® [coined by Benedetta] is to refer to a botanical that is as close to its earthly source as possible, and not altered in a laboratory to mimic a nutrient.
Our Farm-Sourced® ethic represents a standard of excellence requiring ingredients to be intentionally cultivated on a farm, ecologically harvested in the wild, or found in the sea. We do our best to acquire directly from farms as they are extremely dear to us, and allow for mutually beneficial and sustainable partnerships. With the organic cosmetic industry trend in full swing, it is key for us to maintain relationships with our farmers to assure availability, especially during a poor yield year.
The Spring Equinox is a reminder of new beginnings and for us at Benedetta; it is also a time to assess our botanical needs for the upcoming year. We source many, many certified organic botanicals that make up our essential oils, fatty oils, and many of our extracts just to name a few ingredients. Without each plant’s vitality we would not be Benedetta.
Take Neroli for instance, an April-May crop which (like all plant materials) is subject to climate conditions for its chemical therapeutic profile, aromatic profile, as well as quantity or yield. Egregious weather patterns can impact a crop and in some instances, completely destroy an entire season or seasons’ growth.
We had one supplier from Madagascar who lost a 20-year, wild-harvested plantation of Geranium due to a bug infestation that introduced bacteria and killed everything. After replanting, it took a couple years before the plants were ready to produce oil and water, which in turn also created a triple increase in price.
This unknown cycle in the procurement of ingredients has forced us into having more than one source, as to not be dependent on one supplier or farm alone. Supply and demand is an issue as the growing need for certified organic materials increases. The latter encourages farms to produce more than they need and maybe cut costs in production by speedy processes, which overall can impact the vitality of the botanical, certified or not.
Benedetta feels a sense of camaraderie with our farmers and we are very grateful for every year’s harvest. The world of farming has become sacred with many organic farmers switching to biodynamic principles. We are very interested in their process, knowing fully that their success is ours. During the harvest season from April through September, my priority is to build continued relations with farmers and producers that respect and honor sustainability through the highest energetic means of cultivation and harvest. These relationships are equally important in business, as I have always seen production as one that takes a community effort. Without those individuals who toil at their craft, we would not exist.
Benedetta contracts and purchases botanicals from all over the globe, mainly Europe, Africa, Australia, and the United States. When we do use distributors, they are required to have certificates of organic and/or biodynamic status, gas chromatograph testing, and date of harvest and processing. This is the name of the game in the botanical industry of real (not lab produced) ingredients with a pulse, so to speak. The Farm-Sourced® ethic is one that requires due diligence and care in the procurement, timeliness of transport, and even the proper storage upon receipt of goods.
Each ingredient tells a story and has value, but it is in the cultivation and process that each raw material is given life. The difference can be understood by comparing two strawberries, both grown organically; one sits in organic sugar with citric acid in an airtight pouch and has a 2-year shelf life, the other is picked directly from your organic garden. Which would you choose? There have been studies done showing that measurable waves of light reflect more vitality and in turn, greater nutrition. Sort of logical isn’t it?
As each cultivating year changes, the true botanical preparation will often change as well by its aroma or even color. A hot year for some plants may produce a stronger scent or create a darker color than that same plant in previous years. What does that mean at a consumer level? A Farm-Sourced® product using all botanicals from our earth’s source (not chemically produced or altered in the lab) will reflect these natural variations.
I am grateful to have and continue to create authentic products with purpose that deliver continued results without worry to the health of your skin or the planet we live on.
From my heart to yours,