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We begin by purchasing starts from a greenhouse, to ensure they are disease-free. The starts are placed into a mint planter that breaks the roots up into 2-3 inch pieces, drops them in rows, and covers them up. It takes one year for that plant to establish itself with a solid mass of roots. When we are ready to cut the crop, we swamp the fields and wait for them to dehydrate. Our mint plants are chopped into a trailer that has steam pipes in the bottom.
Steam is injected into the bottom of the trailer and distributed equally throughout the trailer. It rises to rupture the oil pods underneath the mint leaves, pods too small to see with the naked eye. That oil then changes from a liquid to a vapor and travels with the steam up through a pipe to the condenser, which re-condenses the vapor into a liquid state. Ending in a receiving can is the water and mint oil, which are then separated. The mint extract is what is sold to various companies like Wrigley’s and Crest. Each planting provides us with 4-6 years of harvests.