It is an amazing feeling when the moment finally arrives and you find yourself in that very place you spent years dreaming about! Has this ever happened to you?
July 10th, 2019 was that day for me.
I had dreamed of going on a doTERRA Co-Impact sourcing trip ever since starting with the company about 2 years ago – but I have had the desire to experience lavender fields for even longer. In fact, lavender has fascinated me since I was a child, growing up in Germany.
I had entered the dōTERRA Co-impact sourcing lottery to go on this trip and, by God’s grace I was chosen.
30 of us traveled to the East European city Bucharest in Romania to then continue by bus to the Black Sea towns of Varna and Dobrich where we visited the Esseterre Distillery
It was there that I finally lived my dream and stood in fields of lavender! All that beauty, the aroma….it was overwhelming. What also deeply touched me was to experience the heart, pride, and vision that goes into growing, harvesting, distilling, and testing these oils. It touched me on a very deep and profound level.
Lavender thrives beautifully in Bulgaria without the need for pesticides, irrigation, or much intervention at all. Once planted, it takes three years for a field to be ready to harvest, and lavender plants typically live for 20 to 25 years. To harvest lavender you cut the top 6 to 8 inches off the plant, this way you get the blossoms and a bit of stem. They harvest when the bees leave, or otherwise right when the blossoms close. The steaming process takes about 1.5 hours.
I loved seeing the process of distillation first hand. You can’t possibly imagine the scent of all that lavender! Truckloads and truckloads were coming in – 24 hours a day during this height of harvest.
Just thinking about it now I can smell the lavender…
It feels like lavender has “saved my life” countless times. It’s that great for emotional well-being, support my sleep, sooth sun and wind burn, help heal scratches and scrapes and skin. Oh, and the smell, did I mention the smell?!
Let me tell you a little bit about Esseterre. It is a Bulgarian firm, built and managed by Bulgarians.
Managers, distillers, farmers, and engineers make up the team and it is a shared commitment to positively impact their own community.
Esseterre offer farmers a chance to increase their income through the production of higher value crops. Additionally, they provide reliable on-time payments, long-term fair pricing, production and harvesting support, and technical knowledge sharing.
Esseterre is a company that offers so much more than just harvesting and destilling lavender. While producing the highest quality essential oils for doTerra and our customers around the world, Esseterre and doTerra revitalize the country’s agricultural and industrial legacy, thus building a stronger today and tomorrow for the farmers, their families, and their communities.
At Esseterre, Myrrh & Frankincense, Melissa, Yarrow, Coriander and Fennel are distilled as well. This enables the factory to operate and provide work year round. Next year rose will be added.
We got to meet with the chemists in the lab, and saw some of the instruments used to analyze the quality of the oils.
Before the fall of communism, Bulgaria which was not only an active industrial nation it was also at the forefront of research, development, and production of essential oils. In the post communist era, farmers stopped planting aromatic crops. They tore down and sold distilleries, and planted mainly wheat, sunflower, and corn, which was subsidized by the government.
DoTerra is here to help write a new and different chapter for Bulgaria.
The Black Sea climate is sunny and dry and produces some of the world’s best plants. For these reasons, doTerra chose eastern Bulgaria as the place for a world class production center for some of its most valued oils.
Our trip included service days. On the first day we were blessed to work with The Social Tea House in Varna. The tea house was created as a safe space for orphans aging out of the system. Here they can find employment and mentorship. Thank you doTerra for funding this project through the Healing Hands Foundation.
Our second service day gave us the opportunity to serve the local community of Dobrich by volunteering at The Wonder Garden. It offers a place for people with special needs to work and learn to garden. They grow delicious produce and sell it to the local community. We spent the afternoon clearing the hard ground of rocks in preparation for a needed irrigation system so they can expand their growing capacity. We very much enjoyed connecting with the beautiful souls who welcomed us with open arms, hearts, and smiles and worked alongside us all afternoon.
At the end of the workday we took up a collection and were able to provide a much needed tiller farming tool to the community to make their future work a bit easier.
When I think of this trip the first thing that comes to mind is wanting to lead better with a generous heart, sharing more doTerra oils and doTerra’s mission and personally looking for local opportunities to serve.