TheEssencers

Artisan distilled essential oils and natural crafts

| Searsport, Maine

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Brent and Maija

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Brent and Maija

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About TheEssencers

Sales 1,058
On Etsy since 2020

We bring the Maine woods to your home, without all the sticky sap and biting bugs!

We met here in Maine while working in Maine's fleet of historic wooden schooners. Both coming from 'away,' we fell in love with the rugged coast, nasty weather, and culture. We now have a tiny house farmstead on slightly under 4 acres, where we grow our own food (almost everything, we haven't had much success with the hardy peanuts yet). We sell lamb, garlic, and vegetables to our neighbors. We strive to do everything as locally as possible, both to minimize our impact in the world, and to keep the money we spend (or whatever we barter with) in our community.

I (Brent) have wanted to make essential oils ever since I began studying herbs as a teenager. It is quite satisfying to finally achieve what has been an aspiration for so long. With our still, we hope to help bring the aromas of the Maine woods into your home. A trip into the woods is quite the olfactory experience around here. Our conifers are bursting with essential oils. We have white pine (our state tree), balsam fir, red spruce, and northern cedar. We acquire our materials in as sustainable a manner. Trees grow up and come down all the time in Maine. Rarely do we actually harvest anything just for essential oils. One of our neighbors is currently clearing balsam out of a couple of acres to increase acorn production for his forest-raised pigs. Another neighbor will soon take down a pine tree (if a storm doesnt beat him to it) that is precariously leaning over his driveway. And yet another neighbor just took down a big cedar tree that was trying to steal his powerline. This amount of material will keep our still busy for many months. By the time we are done with it all, another tree will have surely fallen down nearby.

For the curious, here is how our distillation process works. First, we start with the plant material (most often tree branches). Second, we run it through a small wood shredder that we own to increase the surface area of the material and to help it fit into our still. Third, we pack the shredded material into the still and add a couple of gallons of water underneath. Fourth, we boil the water for many hours, collecting the steam, which was forced to rise up through the plant material. Finally, separate the essential oil from the condensed steam, bottle it up, and send it off to you!

For the EXTRA curious, here is more detail on how our still actually functions. Our still is stainless steel, and was built by a local tinkerer. After searching for almost a year, we found it for sale. The main body has two columns arranged vertically. The bottom column gets filled with water. This part sits on top of the flame. In the upper column we stuff in up to 30 pounds of plant material. A lid with a copper pipe attaches to the upper column. This pipe coils down through another bucket (which we keep filled with cool water) and out again, ending in a spout. We place a jar, or sometimes a fancy glass essencier, under the spout to collect everything. When we start boiling the water, the steam rises up through the second column. As it goes through the plant material, the heat of the steam breaks open the cell walls and causes the essential oils to evaporate out of the plant. The combined essential oil and steam (which has picked up other nice smelling compounds as well) winds through the copper coil. As the coil passes through the cold water bucket, the steam and essential oil cool down and condense back into liquid form. It then drips out of the spout into our collection jar. In the jar, the essential oil floats on top of the condensed steam (which we call hydrosol). Essential oils do not dissolve in water. Its like our own little lava lamp, but it smells amazing. We then separate the two liquids, giving us a pure essential oil. The hydrosols are useful as well. We mostly put them in squirt bottles and spray them at each other, but we also spray them on our plants to help keeps bugs away. Being water based, the hydrosols do not store well. We are currently trying to incorporate them into our soap making endeavers.

As for the fate of our beloved plant material, we eventually empty the still to clean it out and start a new batch. We use the spent plant material to mulch our paths throughout the garden. It makes a nice fluffy mulch to walk on. Nothing is wasted. 👍

As for how we came up with our name, we live in a swamp (it was all we could afford). In the summer time we are sung to sleep every night by hundred of frogs. Spring peepers, bullfrogs, leopard frogs, and tree frogs are all over the place. With Maija also being a talented musician, we thought Frog Song Farm was a nice fit.

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  • Brent

    Owner

    I have been growing and working on farms since I was a teenager. When not working, I love to go on adventures. Bicycle touring, sailing camping, canoeing, foraging, fishing. I spend most of my time growing food and then eating it though.

  • Maija

    Owner

    I love snow more than almost anything. I delight in hand-crafts, musical instruments, folk art, and all things Norway. Homesteading fills me with purpose and I delight in learning how to make things from all local ingredients!

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