Roses have been grown and picked in Bulgaria for over 200 years. With such a long history of growing roses primarily for essential oil, Bulgaria has become one of the largest producers of rose oil in the world. Near the Black Sea, Bulgaria has a sunny and dry climate coupled with well-drained, sandy soil that create ideal conditions.
Known as the “Queen of Oils,” Rose essential oil is highly sought after for its aroma and powerful topical and emotional benefits.The blooming floral aroma is comforting and the oil, used topically, helps promote healthy-looking skin.
How does it work?
Rosa damascena (the Damask Rose) is the species of rose grown and distilled for our Rose essential oil. The rose cuttings are planted in the autumn and are ready to be picked in May or June. Roses prefer sandy, clay-free soil with a sunny, slightly humid climate and mild winters. The essential oil comes from steam distilling the petals of the flower. The flowers are picked by hand early in the morning and distilled later that same day. It is important to distill rose petals the same day they are harvested to capture a higher volume of oil from the delicate petals.
Generating Jobs and Preserving Legacy
While Bulgaria has historically boasted some of the world’s premier essential oil research, development, and production, the industry faltered because of the government’s financial support for wheat, sunflower, and corn. Many Bulgarian farmers replaced aromatic plants with these crops. This led to a lack of innovation in the aromatic agricultural space. The establishment of Esseterre has provided significant economic revitalization to the Dobrich, Bulgaria region. It has brought a multi-million investment and many jobs to a country where nearly a quarter of its population lives at or below the global poverty line. More and more farmers are coming to Esseterre with their crops. This can be attributed to several things including the sophistication and quality of the equipment and technology, as well as Esseterre’s reputation as a reliable buyer that pays fairly and promptly.
For years, the few remaining distilleries in Bulgaria have been mostly managed by brokers. They determined how much and when the farmers would get paid. Many farmers are paid unfairly, and some are not paid for months, or even years, until the brokers have sold the oil. At Esseterre, however, we can test the quality of a farmer’s crop and essential oil nearly immediately. The on-site, state of the art laboratory includes a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) machine to confirm quality and a space where farmers can watch and wait while their crops are being distilled. Having this technology on-site allows us to not only confirm, while the farmer waits, that their plants produced the highest quality oil, but also to pay farmers fairly and timely—usually the same day. We also award bonuses to farmers with the highest quality oil.
The doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation has been able to support a variety of projects and organizations in Bulgaria including The Social Teahouse, a scholarship project, and a playground project.
The Healing Hands Foundation has partnered with The Social Teahouse, an organization dedicated to creating equal opportunities for children in Bulgaria as they age out of the orphanage system. These children lack education and literacy, personal and emotional development, and access to professional opportunities equal or comparable to their peers. The Social Teahouse focuses on providing children between the ages of 14 and 18 with the skills and competencies they need to develop and independent lifestyle by bridging their time in the orphanage and their life after. The teahouse is actually a teahouse. On the first floor, the orphaned teens work as baristas who take orders and prepare and serve tea. The second floor has been converted into a spacious meeting room where members of the mentorship program can hold meetings or group activities. The proceeds from the tea sales and merchandise sold by the Social Teahouse all go toward supporting the organization’s efforts to prepare orphaned teens for the workforce.
A partnership with the organization Mothers’ Care Club provides scholarships for orphans and poverty-stricken children in the Dobrich, Bulgaria area. Additionally, Healing Hands has provided funding for primary school, secondary school, and university students.
After the opening of the Esseterre distillery, the mayor of Dobrich received a letter from children in the community requesting a safe place for them to play. The Dobrich Municipality immediately began drawing up plans for two children’s playgrounds (one for ages 6 and younger and one for ages 3 to 12) as well as preparing space between some residential buildings a few blocks from Esseterre. Healing Hands financially supported the building and expenses of these two playgrounds for the children.