Why Source Organic Essential Oils?
A primary goal for us at Aloha Bay is to provide you pure essential oils at a cost you can afford so you will use more in your daily life to improve your health and home environment. So you have to ask, "Why are we also offering 'organic' essential oils that are usually more expensive?"
We consider organics to be the 'freshest, safest, foods.' Buying certified organic essential oils is the only way we can be certain that oils we donít produce are grown without pesticides. We grow our own organic patchouli oil in Indonesia. We work with many essential oil suppliers, farmers and distillers. For those that we have worked with the longest, visited their farms or participated in distillations, we have a great degree of trust developed from working with them. But we also source essential oils from brokers and bulk suppliers. The only way we can be certain that their suppliers donít use pesticides on their farms is if they are certified organic.
We admit finding high quality organics is not that easy and in some cases we canít find the organics and offer what we feel is the best alternative. And yes organics can be more expensive, but we have found that third world farmers donít always charge more. They save expenses by not using pesticides. We are finding more and more farmers that grow organically, but then what they harvest just gets thrown in with non-organic plant material when itís distilled.
In the last couple of years, organic spices and oils are a fast-growing segment of the organic market. Sales are growing 35 percent annually, more than double the 16 percent growth rate of spices and oils farmed through chemically intensive agriculture. It indicates that consumers are beginning to appreciate the difference and are willing to pay for it.
Also the new trend toward organic spices and oils is healthy. Non-organic spices, for example, though they may constitute a very small part of a meal, pose serious potential health problems. Spices, like all plants, acquire a variety of natural contaminants while in the ground, including bacteria, parasites, insects, yeast and molds. Unlike organic spice producers, who use steam and ozone to combat these natural predators, non-organic spice producers often use irradiation or ethylene oxide, a chemical that is a known carcinogen. Spices and oils are allowed to have some of the highest amounts of radiation treatment for any food product.
Many of the small family farms we work with already understand the problems, because theyíve observed its effect on their land and the well-being of their families and communities. So meeting them and providing support and education on organic certification regulations, along with a market for their products, give many growers the comfort to convert to organic. In Indonesia we work with the patchouli farmers to promote practices such as intercropping, crop rotation and vermiculture. We also promote soil conservation and erosion-control methods.
We are beginning to work with on organic development directly with farmers and grower coops in China, India and the United States. We are seeing slight but hopeful increases in production at a couple of the organic farms which will get the farmers more money and us more oil.
We are seeing the greatest increases in oil production wherever we can afford to improve a farmerís distillation equipment. Anytime we invest in better equipment for the locals in a third world country we see better quality and bigger volume. Last year, we distilled Patchouli at our own plant in Indonesia and hopefully in the future will get it certified organic.
Marketers and brokers figure if you can say itís organic you can get more money. Our thinking is the opposite. We donít add that financial burden onto our clients. We believe in a few more years if we stay with the small variety of oils that we offer, the price difference between commercial and organic products wonít be that different. Our goal is to get you organics for what youíre now paying for non-organics oils. Last month we were able to buy barrel quantities of high altitude organic lavender directly from the Bulgarian producer for the same price we previously purchased commercial lavender from our US bulk supplier.
Another important difference between organic and non-organic spices and oils is that most conventional spice and oil traders are accustomed to spot purchasing, being able to shop around for the best price and still secure just-in-time delivery. This just doesnít work with organics. For it to work in the long run itís all about the lasting personal relationships you create because if there isnít a heightened understanding that "weíre in this together," it just doesnít work. The agreements we make with the farmers, their families and communities does not correspond to the commodity market. Even when the commodity market says, "there is a glut crop this year so the prices are at rock bottom," we offer a fair price farmers can live with when the crops are scarce or plentiful, so that they can depend on getting the same income year after year. Not surprising when the prices go up we still get what we ordered at the same price, and if we can cut back a little on the amount we will so they can sell more of their crops to traders.
From our point of view the organic palm oil we use in our palm wax candles is an essential oil. So we are always looking for better sources from certified organic and rain forest sustainable plantations we trust.
In summary, we want to support the healthier trend for more and more consumers being able to afford organics just as we prefer working and supporting organic farmers. Although there is no research which has been conclusive to prove organic pure essential oils are superior to non-organic oils regarding their therapeutic use, at least we know they do not contain pesticides. We feel itís fair to presume they are better for you. Providing the best quality essential oils is what we do best and we love doing it for you.