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The Jurlique Farm in Adelaide is an exercise in Australian biodynamic farming

Helen Lee January 4, 2013 Comments Off

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Adelaide, a city in South Australia has ever jumped out at me as a must visit location. Maybe except for the Australia Day one day cricket match or as I pass through to get to the state’s famed wineries. But they do have one hidden gem, Jurlique’s Mylor Farm in the Adelaide Hills.

Jurlique has long been a brand that I have been a fan of, ever since the days of their blue and white packaging. It was a love that started with the humble Rose scented hand cream and blossomed into a adoration for an Australian made-brand (which is now owned by an international corporation) who can hold its own in the international market – especially in the saturated Asian market.

When I mention to friends about my love of Jurlique, I am often met with two reactions. One of surprise that Jurlique is an Australian skin care brand, and the other being that they have their own biodynamic farm where over 90% of their ingredients are grown. A notable feat given that many top natural skin care brands rarely call their founding company home as well as a farm that will soon feature in Tourism South Australia’s list of must-see locations.

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I was taken on a tour of the farm with a group of other beauty savvy girls late last year and upon arrival we were greeted with rolling hills and beauty that only the Australian bush can provide (hopping kangaroos included). Amongst the 155 acre farm lay fields of flowers that has us envisaging beautifully dressed little girls frolicking amongst them. Needless to say,  when we were given the opportunity we couldn’t help but stroll along the rows of camomile, roses and calendula. Even the smell of natural fertiliser didn’t bother us, much.

The farm itself grows about 28 types of medicinal herbs used for Jurlique’s popular skin care products with an array of annual and perennial plans growing on the farm at any one time. There is always the constant push to trial the growth of new plants with the only thing that can mean the difference of an import or a home grown plant is the weather and the plants ability to be grown outside of its natural surrounds. Even in the rich soils of the Adelaide Hills.

Dr Klein, originally from Germany, was once asked in an interview about why they chose South Australia to set up their business to which he replied: “Australia is the best place in the world, and South Australia is even better, it has a Mediterranean climate and the pollution level is very low.”

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After each herb or flower is harvested by hand to ensure quality, they are then taken to a drying shed which can hold up to 800 kilos of flora and herbs at any given time. Walking into the room where humid heat had an entirely different meaning, we were knocked back by the smell of calendula and camomile. Once dried, the herbs are then vacuum sealed in bags and sorted, with some going to a storage facility a short drive away from the farm, while other herbs would go through an extraction process to get the rich oils for the products.

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Our tour guide was Marc Intervera, Horticultural Specialist at Jurlique who’s knowledge of farming and of farming in the Australian bush was worthy of several paragraphs in this tale. He explained how Dr Jurgen Klein and his wife Ulrike, had started biodynamic farming from the very beginning (1985!), using spiritual methods by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner to create a highly suitable environment for the infusion of natural energy into the skin care products.

It was fascinating to hear about how certain methods used at the farm was created, for instance ’500′ is created by filling a cow horn with manure and buried in a particular pattern before being dug up after a set period of time. Then it is combined with water (in a very particular fountain) and then sprayed into the earth in small quantities of about 90 grams to the hectare.

Mark himself was a fascinating creature, I only say creature because his heart and mind is clearly much more at ease exploring the land away from the bright lights and big cities. At one point during lunch he took pause and sniffed at the air, wary of Jurlique’s Mylor Farm’s biggest threat, bush fire. But it was just some distant back burning and we went back to chatting about his travels and one of his past quests to find “Aloha” in Hawaii’s less popular islands and journeys around the Australian expansive country side.

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At one point we did enquire about why Jurlique isn’t certified organic, to which Marc replied that the herbs and flora are, but the end product is not. Interesting, but it wasn’t something I felt needed to be pushed further given my experience at the farm.

While we weren’t show the factory where the products were made (it’s kind of a secret after all), this gave us an amazing insight into the world of Jurlique and the amazing and passionate staff they have working in Adelaide. I couldn’t help but fill a sense of pride for an Australian natural beauty brand doing well in the international market place. With Tourism South Australia trying to organise semi-regular tours of the Jurlique farm at Mylor, South Australia is definitely becoming an intriguing state for further exploration beyond the vineyards and beaches.

 

The view of the Jurliqe Farm at Mylor
South Australia from the hill

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All photos by Helen Lee. We were flown to Adelaide by Jurlique, all thoughts and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated. We were not paid for this post.

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