Getting back to our Farm Blog, you know we have a lot of people who wildcraft for us. You may not be aware of this, but we provide a living for over 2,000 people in Peru and Ecuador (at the farm, our people in the mountains, and our people in the jungle).
We’ve talked about our distillery in Ecuador and how we have the plants lying on the floor under the roof shade-drying. We test the Brix every two hours. Then they take a batch down, put it in the small 150‑liter still, and distill it. Then that oil goes upstairs to the lab, and we analyze it. So we have a complete record of what those plants are doing every two hours during the 12 hours of daylight.
This is a photo of when I was in Madagascar teaching the people where this lady in red had just built a bush distiller for distilling vetiver. They were getting ready to distill it, and they didn’t really know what they were doing. They didn’t know how to distill it, they didn’t know how to compact the plants. But the worst part was that she had built this distillery and put a valve on the swan neck to close it. I said to her, “What’s this?”
She said, “It’s a valve to close it.”
I asked, “Why?”
And she said, “Well, I was told I have to have pressure in the still in order to get the oil out.”
I told her, “You are so lucky that I’m here.” If she had fired up that distiller and it had built to 1 pound of pressure, it would have gone off like a bomb. Anybody within the proximity of that building would have likely been killed.
This photo shows that we took the lid off and unpacked the chamber. I taught them how to separate the roots, to chop them, put them in the chamber, and compress them right. We took the valve out and now she’s producing vetiver oil.