Mont Echo: A Family Company

Mont Echo is a Canadian family owned and operated company with Finnish roots.

Our family was first introduced to Sea Buckthorn by relatives in Finland about ten years ago. We were all sitting around the fire after an evening sauna when one of our cousins brought out a bottle of sea buckthorn liqueur to try. We had never heard of Sea Buckthorn, or tyrni as it’s called in Finland. As we sampled the liqueur, our relatives explained a bit about the fruit and its many health benefits and uses in Finland. The plant was already well-known there, and could be found in jams, juices, liqueurs, wine, skincare products, and health supplements.

Picking Sea Buckthorn by hand

Picking Sea Buckthorn by hand

We were intrigued by the fruit’s beauty, incredible nutritional value and its hardiness. A few years later, in 2003, we arranged for four carefully selected Sea Buckthorn varietals to be shipped to Canada from Finland in the hopes of starting our own Sea Buckthorn orchard in Quebec. These original varietals were chosen for their superior fruit production, the high oil content of their berries, and their suitability for growing in Quebec after extensive research and consultations with growers in Scandinavia.

We harvested fruit for the first several years by hand for personal use only.  At that time, there was little being done with Sea Buckthorn plants in Canada, and we based our orchard preparation and plant care techniques on Finnish methods.

We soon realized that there was a need for a truly North American Sea Buckthorn company committed to hand-crafted, natural products made from fruit grown, harvested, and processed in Canada, and began to expand the orchards with the aim of creating high-quality commercial Sea Buckthorn products. With professional backgrounds in biochemistry, product safety, graphic design, fine art and marketing, the skill set of our founding family members was well-suited to the task.

Initially, we were told that processing Sea Buckthorn in North America is impossible due to the labour intensive nature of the harvests and the technical difficulty of extracting pure oils. But one of Mont Echo’s founding members, Brad Johnson, is a biochemist. He was able to overcome the processing pitfalls, and we are now the first company in North America to extract our own supercritical Sea Buckthorn fruit and seed oils onsite. In addition, all branding, graphic design, photography, artwork, and even the website is done by two other founding family members, sisters Tamara Ensio Johnson and Cari Ensio.

The hard work has paid off. We recently launched an innovative and beautiful line of products made from our own Sea Buckthorn oils and other Sea Buckthorn ingredients, all processed onsite by our dedicated, multidisciplinary team at our facility in Quebec.  Our Mont Echo Bath & Body and Gourmet products are available in select shops throughout Quebec and neighbouring provinces, as well as at our new Mont Echo Boutique and Sea Buckthorn Interpretive Centre in Knowlton, Quebec.

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