From the minds at Juniper Ridge, a tale of Wild Harvesting. Juniper Ridge products are not only sold at our brick and mortar store, but proudly used by the fine folks here at All Good.
Author: Obi Kaufmann
Photography Credit: Candy mountain Collective
If there is one thing you know about Juniper Ridge, it is probably that we make fragrances out of plants we get from the mountains. The process of going to get these ingredients is called wildharvesting and it is a pretty deep story.
Every Harvest number on every bottle of Wilderness Perfume is totally unique. Every formula, plant extract, wood, moss, lichen, and ingredient found on the trail is procured by our team in different ways. The simplest way to tell the story is to divide the process into two main categories: large-scale harvests and small-scale harvests. This division is similar to the way we divide our product line between the five standard offerings (Mojave, Big Sur, Sierra Granite, Siskiyou and Cascade Glacier) and the smaller, seasonal offerings (Field Lab.)
Every ingredient Juniper Ridge uses is harvested on public lands by permit and on private lands by permission. In terms of our large-scale harvests, one of two things will happen: (I) Our team will head out on their weekly trips from San Diego to Seattle (These are long, hot days on wide-open ranches across California’s Santa Lucia Mountains or rainy, early-autumn days on National Forest land in Oregon’s Siskiyou Forest.) or (II) We will work with foresters in State and National Parks as they remove little trees as part of their regular work preventing forest fires, and upcycling the ground remains.
We consider ourselves stewards of these wild plant and flower gardens. We carefully monitor the regrowth after each harvest and practice wildharvesting only in healthy and immense forest stands. We never use endangered plants; we are much more interested in capturing what is in the wild right now over the grand scale of the landscape. It is fun to discuss the scale of these wild tracts with someone from Manhattan who may not understand the size of California. Manhattan is about 16,000 acres, and we routinely harvest on single ranches that are in excess of 100,000 acres.
“There are roughly eight thousand species of plants in the West, not to mention mushrooms, moss, lichens, and really weird stuff like the ocean and dirt itself — I think dirt is my next challenge. I sometimes spend a half hour just smelling a wet patch of ground. If I move my nose an inch, it’s a different world of earthy fragrance. Forget about the thousands of plant species, there are millions of microbe and fungi species in the soil. Have you ever noticed how woods take in an incredibly sweet smell in the hottest weeks of summer? It doesn’t matter if you’re in the Redwoods of Northern California or the Sitka Spruce forests of the Northwest Coast; it’s a universal phenomenon in coniferous forests. This aroma is not coming from the trees; it’s coming from the soil, the dormant mycorrhizal and the billion other microbes down there.”
– Hall Newbegin, Head Wilderness Perfumer and Founder of Juniper Ridge.