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‘Seed to Seal’

Local Young Living farm does something new

By Rachel Kelly

Pharmaceuticals (especially medications that regulate anxiety or depression) not only have a hefty price tag but are often laden with overbearing and damaging side effects. It has many locals looking into alternative medications, even unregulated ones. There are many such proactive remedies that are backed by doctors, such as clinical therapy, art therapy, dietary changes, exercise and aromatherapy. Essential oils fall into the aromatherapy category, although in the world of high-quality essential oils such as Young Living, it doesn’t just stop at aroma. In an unregulated market littered with products that possess low levels of essential oil mixed with mineral oil, Young Living stands out from the crowd. The business grows not necessarily through a masterful marketing plan, but by honest manufacturing and the testimony of its users.

Young Living members attest to the validity of the oils, their life experiences providing testament to the efficacy of Young Living. Essential oils are the essence of plants with life giving properties, providing you a concentrated dose of nature’s healing gifts. For example, citrus provides an invigorating aroma and concentrated doses of vitamin C. Eucalyptus is a natural cleanser and rejuvenator, purifying the air. Lavender is good for respiratory illness. There are oils for anxiety, rest, skin health and immunity, to name a few. These are the benefits of nature that essential oils naturally imbibe. However, there is much to be said for the importance of essential oil quality, without which the benefits of the oil dissipate.

Young Living essential oils are grown and distilled through what Young Living has coined the “Seed to Seal” quality agreement. This agreement traces the path of oil production from the plant to the bottle. This agreement was born out of a pillar of science developed by Young Living founder D. Gary Young. Beginning in 1985, Mr. Young began to travel the world, working with prominent perfumers, aromatherapists and historians. In these travels he developed a passion for essential oils and their health benefits, recognizing the importance of quality and purity. It is due to this that Young Living oils can be used for a variety of health purposes, from creating calming environments to ingesting the edible oils for a high concentration of nutrients. Young Living essential oils are grown and produced locally, with farm events that connect buyers and members directly to the product. The first of such farms was established by Gary and Mary Young themselves in 1992 in St. Maries, Idaho. They began with growing lavender; two years later, Young Living Essential Oils was established.

Highland Flats in Naples, Idaho, is another such farm. They produce the Idaho Balsam Fir, Idaho Blue Spruce and the White Fir for oil distillation. Every year, Young Living hosts the Winter Harvest and Spring Restoration events to allow members to experience the Seed to Seal process firsthand—and to connect the farm directly to its community. Highland Flats has a long 20-year history of giving back to the community economically, but the farm also gives back to the Earth through sustainable farming practices. They do not take from the land, they give back to it.

“We practice chemical free, regenerative agriculture to contribute to the health of our soil, air and water,” shares Michael Carter, farm manager at Highland Flats.

The land itself was bought before the destruction of a grove of “Christmas” trees could be completed: They had grown too tall. “In 1998, Gary was exploring for potential botanicals when he found a field of Grand Fir trees being bulldozed and prepared for burning. He made an agreement with the farm's owner to take all the overgrown trees instead of paying to have them cleared.”

Those trees were bought and, years later, harvested for oil. This sparked the beginning of a longtime relationship between Young Living and the land. Land that today is known as Highland Flats Tree Farm.

For years, trees scheduled for harvest had to be transported to the Saint Maries distillery. This was over a three-hour drive, and was necessary regardless of inclement weather. In 2013, a distillery was constructed in Naples and has been in year-round production since the beginning of 2014.

Their distillery process is unique to this area in its purity, transparency and accountability. The distillery process begins and ends with an attention to nature and sustainable farming practices; The soil is studied in their onsite laboratory for healthy nutrients and bacteria. Live soil, versus empty sanitized soil, is what makes their trees so full of its natural invigorating health properties. Young Living Highland Flats farm works with nature to do what it does best: heal. For the next part of the distillation process, the branches and leaves are collected. The organic matter is then put in large sealed stainless-steel vats. These vats are then filled with steam. In turn, the steam becomes infused with the oil. The steam travels through stainless steel tubing into a glass canister. Through the natural process of cooling, the steam turns into water and sits in the bottom of the glass. The cooled oil filters to the surface. The oil is then collected and brought to the laboratory, where it is tested and refined for purity.

“The farm at Highland Flats has a long history of providing exemplary products to the community,” says Michael. That history is felt here in Northern Idaho. Highland Flats farm is a place of life and purity. Local wildlife aids in the growth of healthy trees, and its farmers work in tandem with those efforts. Young Living believes light and life to be an important part of how they do business, and the farm in Highland Flats is no exception. From seed to tree, from tree to oil, and from oil to people, Highland Flats illustrates what Young Living is for the community. A place of rest and respite. A lifestyle of health that permeates all its parts.

“The Highland Flats Farm fully employs 13 people in addition to seasonal workers in the summer,” says Michael. “We have a complete logging operation with economic impacts to many local businesses from auto parts to catering and nurseries. An average year will bring a few hundred international customers to stay and experience North Idaho while visiting our farm.”

Their logging operations bring significant value to local landowners and forest health, while minimizing waste and sharing unique Idaho forest products around the world, he adds.

Highland Flats Tree Farm and St. Maries Lavender Farm are not the only Young Living farms in existence. The company hosts unique sustainable farms around the world, including in places such as France, Ecuador, Oman and Croatia. The farm in Oman is especially unique in that it is the only company in the world that has received permission to distill the Sacred Frankincense oil for the Western world. Young Living doesn’t ask that you trust them simply because of the width of their brand or the size of their company. They earn that trust with farms that are held accountable by its people and local communities. Farms that you can experience firsthand and hear personal testimony as to its accuracy. Young Living is truly a company that feeds both its community and its land. In this way they set themselves up as an unarguable benefit. Transparency is a rare commodity these days, and Young Living is new in its unembarrassed approach toward business. With high-quality products and testimonials that follow their progress, what’s there to hide?

If you’re interested in trying out the oils for yourself, Young Living oils can be bought online or from a brand partner (members receive a discount).

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