The chemical composition of essential oils can vary dramatically between a living plant and the harvested plant material. It is important to begin distillation of fresh plant material as quickly as possible after harvest to ensure that the profile of aromatic compounds remains as similar to the live plant as possible. This is why most distilleries are located in close proximity to the orchards or farms from which the plant material is harvested.

Many farmers use a technique called wilting as a way to prolong the lifespan of the fresh plant material. The plant material is spread out on clean, dry panels that are shaded from the sun. The plant material “wilts” as some of its water content evaporates. Despite the loss of water and decreased size, the plant material retains the majority of its oil content and is still considered “fresh.” Wilting is also beneficial because it minimizes the amount of soil contamination, mold growth, and fermentation that might occur before distillation.

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