Jonathan Middendorf, BULGARIA

Essences-Bulgaria: Rare and unique essential oils and sustainable use of local forest ecosystems

Essences- Bulgaria is one of the featured artisan distillers for botanica2020.

Jonathan and his wife Pavlina run a small family business in northern Bulgaria, and began their plant journey more than 6 years ago setting up and running a walnut nursery farm. Taking advantage of the rich fertile soil of the area, they then turned their attention to organic herb production including Melissa officinalis, Ocimum basilicum, Origanum vulgare, Salvia sclarea and Mentha arvensis. Parallel to growing their herbs, they also developed a passion for novel and non-recognised aromatic plants that hold potential for essential oils. This led to the cultivation and distillation of Dracocephalum moldavica (Moldavian dragonhead) as well as production of essential oils from Cotinus coggugria (smoke tree) and Satureja montana ssp. citriodora (lemon savory). They have also recently extended their range of pants on the farm with roses, lavender, angelica, catmint and lovage. In total they cultivate around 21 hectares of 12 different aromatic plants and herbs. On parts of their land they have developed an agro-forestry-project combining walnut orchards and clary sage fields.