Bulgaria is an agricultural haven for growing aromatic plants and the people are rich in expertise. Near the Black Sea, the sunny and dry climate couple with the dry, well-drained, sandy soil make the growing conditions in Bulgaria ideal. Additionally, by sourcing yarrow from Bulgaria, we are able to continue supporting farmers around Esseterre.
Yarrow|Pom is a one-of-a-kind expertly crafted proprietary blend of Yarrow essential oil and cold-pressed Pomegranate seed oil, offering a variety of powerful benefits.
How does it work?
Yarrow is a perennial herb with several erect stems capped with many small, white or pink flowers in flat-topped clusters. The leaves are bright green and feathery. The essential oil is steam distilled from the flowers of the plant.
Generating Jobs and Preserving Legacy
While Bulgaria has historically boasted some of the world’s premier essential oil research, development, and production, during the Post-Communist era, 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 consistently 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 a 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.
Why Turkey and Kenya?
Turkey, with its rich agricultural history, is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pomegranate. From Turkey, we source our pomegranate seeds from experienced juice processors; and in Kenya, the seeds are cold pressed for the oil.
How does it work?
Pomegranate is a deciduous and long-living shrub that grows between 16 and 26 feet (5-8 m) high and is indigenous to the Mediterranean and Northern India.
The seeds, sourced as a by-product of the juice extraction process, are dried within three days of collection to ensure optimum quality. These seeds are then packed and shipped to our partner’s facility in Kenya. Once in Kenya, the seeds are tested to ensure they meet the high-quality parameters required. The seeds are then cracked and fed into a specialized cold oil press specifically designed for extracting oil from the low-yielding seeds. The oil content is only 7% by weight—this means that more than 14 kg (30 lbs) of seeds need to be pressed to produce one kg (2 lbs) of oil.
Healing Hands Story
The doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation has funded numerous projects in Kenya. This includes the construction of additional classroom and restroom facilities at Kiwegu Primary School; construction of a school library, water storage, staff room, restrooms, teacher living quarters, and student veranda at Mwamose Primary school (as well as scholarship support); the construction of Mwena River Bridge, which allows river crossing access for community and school children; construction of Mejwengo Mapya Kindergarten school; construction of a community center; TICAH—indigenous culture and health trainings for 2,000 school children; Colobus Conservation—education and reforestation of indigenous trees; Mwamose Water Point, which is a community borehole and water tower; and the Water Maintenance Trust Fund, which does ongoing research and maintenance of community water sources.
In addition to donations from the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation, we have established a Community Development Fund in Kenya. For every kilogram of essential oil produced by its farmer cooperatives, a portion of revenue is set aside in a fund overseen by the cooperatives themselves to finance larger development projects at their discretion.