Field Lab is the crazy ass side of what we do, it’s where my freak flag flies. I love getting deep into place; it’s what I’ve done my whole life and it’s what Juniper Ridge is all about. Field Lab is an aromatic expression of my obsession with place. In the end, it’s a bottle of that one day, on that one trail, in that place.
It’s our mission to bring the mountains into people’s homes, but not just any mountains, the specific, deeply gorgeous places we love. Field Lab is so special to me because it’s the purest expression of what we do. I’m bored to tears by the same old predictable recipes. Set me loose in a wildflower meadow at the height of alpine summer? Yes, please! I’m high as a kite when that’s my job.
Field Lab is a true labor of love. A real passion art project. It goes like this: a small group of us spend a week hiking in an area like Mt. Hood, for example, just smelling what’s in the air, debating about what’s making it smell that way and sitting around the campfire making small scale distillations. We hardly make any money off these bottles, but we hope they turn you into rabid wilderness freaks like us.
The best part about Field Lab projects is how unpredictable they are. Even if we return to the same spot and use the exact same ingredients, the end result would be different year to year, season to season. There are so many variables at play with the plants – what the rains were like, how much sunlight they’ve gotten – combined with the mad scientist in me who insists on always experimenting with new plants, Field Labs wind up so beautifully complicated, and never predictable.
I’m often asked what my favorite Field Lab is. I think we’re hitting world class heights with our Topanga Field Lab series. The idea with Topanga is to capture those yummy, spring days in the coastal mountains of the Central Coast of California, when the wildflowers are exploding, and the bees are in the air. It smells nectary, sticky and full of blue sky and ocean. Each year our access to the area gets better and our harvesting and extraction methods get more diverse and nimble. It’s just a really beautiful product made with love, and one of our best sellers.
We’re looking forward to bringing you some new Field Labs this year. I’m writing this in the lower elevations of the Mojave Desert after a very wet winter. I’m thinking about the delicious Desert Willow blossoms that are filling the air – sweet and nectary – and the Desert Lavender is so beautiful and fat. I want to make a Field Lab essential oil that sings of this gorgeous place – maybe call it Tahquitz Canyon. Stay tuned…!