By Carla Caruso, Clique Media
It\’s harvest time at the Jurlique farm in the Adelaide Hills. Colourful flowers have sprung, aromatic scents float on the breeze, and the bees are buzzing.
This is where it all happens before the high-end, natural-based skincare and aromatherapy products are beautifully packaged and delivered to stores – and into your hands.
Sassi Sam was lucky enough to take a tour this month, courtesy of Nick Middleton, the director of Jurlique\’s farm, factory and warehousing.
The property â€“ which Hollywood star and Jurlique “face” Teresa Palmer recently dropped into â€“ spans 63ha. Jurlique uses about 25 of its own plants and flowers in its products, including chamomile and the orange-hued calendula. (Some of the brand\’s ingredients come from further afield though, like the NT\’s Kakadu plum, which features in its new Purely White Skin Brightening range.)
At the farm, herbs and flowers are hand-picked, dried and their elements extracted. Jurlique uses a biodynamic method of farming, which means it\’s organic, chemical-free and keyed to astronomical events. Nick explains: “Each monthly cycle of the moon â€“ from the crescent to the full moon â€“ has certain â€˜flower days\’. That\’s when we do things like fertilising, because you get better growth of the plants& We [also] wait until 10am for harvesting, when the flowers are fully open.”
As well, the farm employs practices like â€˜companion planting\’, where garlic, for example, is grown between the rose bushes to repel insects – the natural way.
Another quirky biodynamic practice for Jurlique is its use of soil and plant amendments, called â€˜preparations\’. One, dubbed â€˜500\’, is based on organic compost being packed into pregnant female cow horns, buried for six months, then dug up and the contents sprinkled over the soil to enliven it. Ground-up quartz crystals also go into the mix to help with plant photosynthesis! While it may all sound a little out-of-this-world, Nick says: “It\’s about nurturing all the way through. Everything\’s hands-on.”
At the drying shed, chamomile and calendula flowers are drying, losing about 85 per cent of their weight during the process. It\’s hot and humid in here! Once, they\’re done, they\’ll be hermetically sealed in bags and sent to Jurlique\’s nearby Mount Barker plant to have their raw materials extracted and added to beauty products.
We also drop into the propagation house â€“ a curved, clear-walled hothouse â€“ where, once harvesting is finished and the flowers have gone to seed, these are collected and nurtured into seedlings for use in next year\’s crops.
During the tour, we also see first-hand an example of Jurlique\’s commitment to sustainability â€“ there\’s a few rows of soil, where they\’re trialling using their cardboard carton packaging as mulch, rather than the usual pea straw.
The farm also boasts “20,000 new employees”, according to Nick â€“ that is bees from South Australia\’s Kangaroo Island region (the purest kind). Jurlique uses 1.5 tonnes of honey in its products every year, so they\’ve decided to establish their own hives. The farm has 20 hives already, with 20 more to come. This season, they\’ll produce 800kg of honey, but will build up to 100 per cent self-sufficiency.
It\’s been 25 years since Jurlique was first started by German couple Jurgen and Ulrike Klein, who moved to South Australia\’s farmlands, because of the “pure, clean environment” â€“ here\’s to another quarter of a century for the brand!
Photos by James Elsby Clique Media