We are proud to introduce the creation of the Goldthread Distillery located here in the hills of Conway, Massachusetts. This project represents the culmination of much hard work, steady intention, and common vision among the many individuals involved. We are teaming up with the California based Floracopeia, Inc. to create a line of high quality, micro-distilled essential oils, created in small batches from the forests and farms of this region. Floracopeia is a premier essential oils company dedicated to supporting small-scale, community based distillers, practicing sustainable wild harvesting and organic agriculture to produce their oils.
Part of our mission and focus here at Goldthread is using botanical medicine to promote awareness of the interconnection between individuals, communities, and our ecosystems. This recognition, we believe, is the basis for a sustainable, non-toxic and cost-effective community-based herbal healthcare system. For this reason we are happy to begin our partnership with Floracopeia and begin distilling the purest and most potent essential oils in Western Massachusetts and beyond.
In our ongoing commitment to high-level herbal education here at Goldthread, we will be offering hands on classes and workshops about essential oils and distillation in the very near future. Keep an eye on the website for details coming shortly!
The Building of Goldthread Distillery
Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic molecules contained within the flowers, leaves, stems, seeds, roots, bark, resins, and fruit rinds of certain plants. Approximately 10% of the world’s plants contain essential oils. Essential oils have a long history of usage across many cultures throughout the world, including the Greek, Egyptian, Indian and Chinese civilizations. They have been sought after and treasured for their unique properties and applications in medicine, ritual, food preservation and cuisine. Wars have been fought, civilizations have blossomed, and trade routes were established all in pursuit of spices, resins, perfumes, and the essential oils they contained. Today they are more important than ever not only for their many health-enhancing benefits, but also for their environmental, cultural, and economic implications.
Essential oils are being cultivated worldwide for their use in industries, agriculture, and homes. In many cases they are replacing the toxic chemicals often used in these settings. Their usage in aromatherapy, perfumery, and cosmetics are well known, and there is an increasing demand towards plant-based constituents in these products. Because essential oils are so concentrated, it takes a great deal of plant material to manufacture them. This can form the basis for increased organic agriculture and sustainable harvesting, creating more green jobs and a healthier environment.
Another emerging area where essential oils are getting increased attention is the important role they can play in medicine. Essential oils are the concentrated immunological intelligence within plants that allows them to repel bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infestations. We too may benefit from the proper usage and integration of these compounds into our lives. In a world where potential pathogens are an ever-increasing issue, essential oils can offer our immune systems much needed support.
Steam distillation is one of the methods by which essential oils are extracted from bulk plant material. The process involves placing plant material in a special chamber within the still while pressurized steam is created underneath it using water and a heat source. The hot steam passes through the plant material and liberates the aromatic molecules in the process. The essential oil travels upward with the steam into a condensing unit where it is cooled and condensed into heavier droplets of liquid. This liquid collects into a glass receptacle and the oil begins to separate out from the water. The oil is then decanted off and what remains is called Hydrosol. This byproduct of distillation contains trace amounts of essential oil and retains many of the therapeutic properties of the plant. It is highly valued for skin care, aromatic air fresheners, and specific therapeutic applications.
Our still is a custom-made 85-gallon unit fired exclusively with wood, and housed under a traditional New England style post and beam structure. To supply the still, we gather Spruce, Hemlock, White Pine, Fir, and Birch from the surrounding forests, and grow a variety of essential oil-containing herbs here on the farm. The distillation process is an amazing and magical experience. From the gathering of the plants in the forests and gardens, to the lighting and tending of the distillation fire, the process is true alchemy.
A Winter distillation at Goldthread Farm
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