Both Santa Cruz and Big Sur are true paradises, sandwiched between two incredible ecosystems. I have been blessed to grow living along the coastal cliffs and redwood forests. Spending my life walking through the redwood groves on the wet trails of winter, and jumping rocks across the weaving creeks in the warm summer afternoons after the foggy mornings pass. There is no better feeling I have experienced than to be in the presence of this magic world. My home.
When I became a resident of San Francisco I was lucky to become a part of the Presidio National Park community. Surrounded by historical forests and restored beach dunes, inhabited by owls and coyotes, it really is the wildest place to live in the city. When living in the Presidio, it takes a 15 minute drive over the Golden Gate Bridge to find oneself in the costal Marin Headlands, and 45 minutes to reach Mount Tamalpais, where the redwood groves call out.
Having grown only a few blocks from the misty forests, with a walk in the redwoods every morning, 10 miles from the tall trees can seem so far. When I share this feeling with friends who grew up along side me, they too miss the forests, but are now much farther away in places like Oregon, Colorado or Arizona. I wanted to find a way in which we could all feel connected with the redwood groves again, no matter our location. This desire lead me to my creation of redwood essential oil, with special attention in finding a way to avoid gathering from the wild forest, as redwoods are a very special and truly endangered species.
My grandfather’s home, which he built for my grandmother in 19 something, is down the road from the forest of Nicene Marks State Park in Santa Cruz. In his backyard is a Redwood that was planted by a next door neighbor over 40 years ago. The tree is located in the corner of the property, with its branches hanging over all four of the surrounding properties. With such large branches hanging close to the houses, my collection is not only ethically foraged, it is also of assistance in the care and maintenance of the tree for the elderly neighbors.
To collect material from the Redwood, a tall later is used for me to climb the tree and use very thick clippers and light saws to remove lower branches. My loving family is always happy to assist, passing the large branches down to my father as my grandfather packs away the the branches in bags for travel. My father and the the cat often have fun helping in the process of clipping branches into smaller pieces that will fit easily into the copper still.
Here is a small peak into the essential oil making process!
To create my Wild Grove Mist, Redwood essential oil is combined with essential oils from Bay Laurel, and absolutes from both Oakwood and Oakmoss. This combination is added to small amounts of distilled water remaining from the essential oil making process (which always keeps a small hint of the essential oil it has helped to create.)
The paths and flowing creeks that run throughout the Redwood groves are lined by Live Oaks covered in Oakmoss and the beautiful color shifting Bay Laurel, each plant with its own story, and all together creating a scent of home that I will never forget and will always want to share with others.