As more and more people become aware of possible health implications of the products they use every day, essential oils are having a moment in the spotlight. Many people use dozens of hair, makeup, skin, and bath products every day containing chemicals that are absorbed through the skin, the long-term effects of which have not been thoroughly studied. Essential oils can often be used as an alternative natural remedy, cleaning product, skincare, nutritional supplement, or fragrance substitute.
Essential oils are the concentrated extracts of plants, and many natural or alternative health practitioners use them in aromatherapy and naturopathy. Many plants contain compounds that may be beneficial to overall human health and although there is not always the evidence to support these claims, many people feel more confident using concentrated natural products as opposed to something more heavily processed and store-bought.
Young Living is a multi-level marketing company based out of Lehi, Utah selling genuine essential oils and related products. They are the largest essential oils company in the world clearing over $1 billion in revenue every year. Although their line has expanded over the years to include diffusers, substitutions for processed products, nutritional supplements, and healthcare solutions, their essential oils remain their most popular product. They are perhaps best known for their multi-level marketing sales model, relying on distributors and direct-to-consumer whole selling.
Distributors of Young Living products can get invited to the annual convention and retreat. One of the biggest attractions of the convention is a trip to the Young Living lavender farm, called Whispering Springs Farm. It is also a popular tourist destination and road trip stop in the area. The farm is located in Mona, Utah, about an hour outside of Salt Lake City in a valley of the Rocky Mountains.
The highlight of the farm is allowing visitors the opportunity to see exactly how the products are produced and what work goes into growing the plants. The farm is open to the public all year in addition to being the highlight of the Young Living retreat and convention. The company is founded on a “seed to seal” promise – the understanding that Young Living takes all of its products from the first step to the last directly without outsourcing. This is very different from mass-produced products from similar companies that you may find in stores. Even if you are not interested in Young Living as a company, you can learn something new about essential oils, natural products, and the farming process. If you have young children, it can be an educational experience for them as well.
The farm contains 1,400 acres of lavender fields and oil distilleries, plus a natural reservoir, perfectly landscaped gardens, a herd of over 100 horses, and gorgeous views of the mountains. Visitors can take self-guided tours of the distilleries and see what is being produced on that particular day. They also have the opportunity to learn first-hand what goes into farming the products by talking to the highly knowledgeable farmers and staff, wandering the fields, and taking a stab at repotting the plants themselves.
The farm facilities are available to rent for family reunions, company parties, and weddings. They also have various events throughout the year, including a 5k run, hay wagon rides, small animal farm visits, paddleboat cruises on the reservoir, essential oils classes, free distillery tours, horse shows, rodeos, and the annual Lavender Day Festival in June.
For users and distributors of Young Living products, one of the strongest selling points is that the plants are grown all-naturally without the use of pesticides. Since the inception of the company, they have made it a point to never use chemicals on their plants in order to keep the resulting essential oils as pure as possible. Visitors can pick leaves off the plants directly from the ground and eat them without worrying about ingesting pesticides. The farmland is also weeded by hand.
Also growing on the farm are some non-native plants that company founders Gary and Mary Young are attempting to grow locally in order to shorten the supply chain. For example, they are currently experimenting with growing wolfberry trees in the Utah climate to see if they can produce the resulting essential oils without importing an additional product.
Lunch is available to farm visitors, and items are available for purchase that are made from the plants grown on the farm. For example, visitors can enjoy lavender ice cream or lavender lemonade and know that it was locally sourced and as close to nature as possible.
Young Living products, apparel, and other merchandise are available for sale right on the farm. This is probably the most efficient way to purchase the freshest-possible essential oil products. However, if you are only interested in the product and not the parent company, you can also hand-pick and take home your own lavender for a small fee. The best time of year to do this is in June or July when the lavender is in full bloom.
As part of its business model, Young Living partners with other farms and helps them produce essential oils from its products. One such product is sandalwood; grown in Hawaii, the product is then sent to the Young Living facilities that produce and sell the essential oils. These partner companies sometimes also sell the hydrosols – the water that is left over after distilling the water – and markets it as floral water with varied uses. Although Young Living prides itself on “seed to seal,” it tries to be a good business partner with other farms by working together in this way.
Whether you are a distributor or user of Young Living products, or if you just have an interest in a healthier, more natural lifestyle, a trip to the lavender farm can be a very educational experience. Bring the family and make it an educational trip for all ages, and leave with a stronger understanding of the farm experience.