Sea Buckthorn has suddenly become the darling of natural ingredients. Town & Country magazine featured the fruit in an article entitled “Sea Buckthorn – The Groves of Eternal Youth.” Whole Living listed Sea Buckthorn as one of the Hottest Ingredients of the year. Dr. Oz touted Sea Buckthorn’s weight loss and skin care properties on his show multiple times. Marie Claire, Oxygen, Shape, and Lucky have trumpeted its virtues.
The only thing that disappoints us about all this great buzz is that folks seem to feel that they need to travel the globe to bring home great Sea Buckthorn. Of course, China and the Himalayas are exotic and lovely – but did you know that there is a whole community of local growers who are cultivating this “miracle berry” right in your backyard?
Beyond Skin Deep
We’re biased of course. Our motto is “Beyond Skin Deep,” meaning that we believe that true beauty comes from knowing that you are making the best choices for your body, your environment and your community. That means we believe strongly in supporting local farmers and in minimizing our environmental footprint by sourcing our ingredients from places that don’t require excessive shipping and processing steps. So we thought we would take a moment here to explain exactly why we were so determined to found Mont Echo Naturels as a 100% Canadian-grown Sea Buckthorn company when everyone else said it was impossible.
We began as Sea Buckthorn growers ourselves and we were endlessly frustrated by companies – even Canadian companies! – that continually chose to bring in foreign Sea Buckthorn when there were farmers across Canada desperate to sell fruit. In many cases, farmers were forced to let their fruit die on the plant because it just wasn’t possible to compete with the bargain-basement prices of the mass growers overseas. This is an incredible waste of precious fruit! In fact, when we first started going to international Sea Buckthorn conferences, our plans to create products using Canadian-grown Sea Buckthorn were laughed out of the room as “impossible.” And yet here we are, just a few years later, purchasing massive volumes of fruit from our own farmers and producing some of the finest products on the market with it. All we had to do was start small, support the industry, and put our commitment to local farmers ahead of concern for profit.
A plant is only as good as the environment its grown in. Our company is named after the mountain next to which our Sea Buckthorn dreams were born. Our orchards sit at the base of lovely Mont Echo in southern Quebec, on property which backs up to thousands of acres of pristine Nature Conservancy land. Our fruit doesn’t fall off the trees when gently shaken, as fruit at high altitudes does. Our fruit clings strongly to the branches – even through winter if not picked. Like the land around it, our fruit is beautiful and bountiful and robust. And as our fruit requirements grew beyond what our farms could produce, we traveled across Quebec, the Maritimes and the Prairies to seek out similar sources of fruit. Why do we care so much? Because a plant cultivated organically in the rich lands of beautiful, natural Canada breathes clean air, drinks clean water and grows in clean soil. And it turns all these pure elements into clean, pure oils. And that’s the kind of oil we want in our products.
Knowing Your Source AND your Process
One of the other reasons we love to focus on Canadian fruit is that it gives us the opportunity to be innovators. Unlike other companies, we do all of our ingredient extraction ourselves, right here in Quebec. Sea Buckthorn oils are very difficult to extract and even small changes in temperature during the processing can have a large impact on the quality of nutrients in the oil. Because we know and control the source AND the process, we have the chance to make sure every drop of oil, floral water and powder we produce is as good and as pure as it can be. And we can experiment endlessly to produce new natural ingredients that utilize every part of the plant.
Spring is approaching here in southern Quebec and we’re looking forward to it after a long, icy winter. Our family farms are gearing up for another growing season and the company is also going to grow this year – new equipment, new products and new sales outlets are in the works to compliment our newly redesigned website! Come grow with us and take advantage of all the benefit that only Canadian-grown Sea Buckthorn can offer.