Farm to Formulation: Bergamot (video)

When it comes to choosing the key ingredients used in our products, how those ingredients are grown, processed, and stored matters just as much to us as how they smell, feel, and work in the product. So what better way to do to deepen our understanding and connection to our ingredients and suppliers than by visiting the source! This enables us to learn about the production of our ingredients, build stronger relationships with our ingredient suppliers, and better understand the path our ingredients take.

The start of the New Year found us at the southernmost tip of Italy, a land bathed in sunshine and filled with exotic citrus fruits. Join us as we follow our bergamot oil (Citrus bergami) from farm to formulation.

The following was originally published on 2-25-2016

In the remote region of Calabria, 80% of the world’s supply of bergamot is grown. This rare but very important ingredient is found in many of Badger’s most sought after products including Sleep Balm and our Man Care line. We love how its fresh citrus floral top note with cool undertone is rejuvenating, and balancing.

Bergamot is the distinctive flavor found in Earl Grey tea, the floral citrus note in iconic French perfumes, and the secret ingredient in classic sodas and candy. And while the fragrance is familiar to many, the fruit itself is a mystery and has remained relatively anonymous over the years due to its bitter and highly acidic flavor. The essential oil, however, is so highly sought after that the citrus growers of Calabria struggle to keep up with the demand.

Italians are known for their hospitality and our suppliers generously showed us around their farms, production facility, and the surrounding region. We were impressed with their organic agricultural practices and amazed by how many other plants and animals were living among the bergamot trees. It was an entire citrus forest ecosystem nestled within acres of organic farms!

Our supplier’s production facility was also impressive. Picture gigantic, room-sized stainless steel machinery custom designed to carefully extract the precious oil from the peel. Most citrus peel oils, including bergamot, are photosensitizing, and can cause brown spots if rubbed on the skin and exposed to sunlight. Our supplier uses a special distillation method to remove these photosensitizing compounds while retaining the original spectacular fragrance. This means that the bergamot oil Badger sources is not photosensitizing.

We returned from Italy with a stronger appreciation and understanding of bergamot essential oil, and with boxes of bergamot pastries and candies to share with our fellow Badgers. Keep an eye out for more bergamot-scented products in our future!

Your Badgers Abroad,
Rebecca and Chris Hamilton

Badgers Chris and Rebecca and Bergamot fruit

Rebecca Hamilton is a family owner and the VP of Innovation and Social Impact at Badger. She oversees new product innovation from concept to market as well as Badger's sustainability initiatives. Rebecca has nearly a decade of experience in the natural products industry and has served as an industry expert and public presenter at over 30 conferences and events. Her background in economic botany and supply chain management coupled with her passions for organic living, safe products, and ethical commerce have led her to wider industry involvement and public service outreach. Rebecca has served as an active stakeholder in the Fair Trade USA consultative group and is a passionate supporter of the Fair Trade movement. She is currently involved in safe cosmetics and Benefit Corporation legislation, has served as the chair of the Natural Products Association Natural Seal Steering Committee, is a member of the NSF Joint Committee on Natural Personal Care and the Safer Chemicals Coalition, and is on the advisory board for the Protect Our Breasts project.

Rebecca's Favorite Badger Products: Cocoa Butter Lip Balms, Cuticle Care, & Rose Geranium Face & Body Soap.

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