The village of Bassins, Vaud in the Jura mountains of Switzerland is the setting for a small scale agricultural operation run by the local Genevay and Guenin families. They have run open houses over the last 3 weekends and this Saturday members of the PhytlSigns team came together with more than 60 other participants to learn more about their operations.

The team from the Distillerie de Bassins work with local farmers and also cultivate a range of aromatic and medicinal plants from which they then distill essential oils. The plants are all grown to the highest ecological standards and enable local cultivators to grow a range of crops from Lavender and Angelica to Roman Chamomile. New plant varieties are developed in conjunction with Agroscope, Changins. They also work with local foresters to harvest offcuts of a range of coniferous trees native to the Jura.

Their work is based on more than 40 years of experience and they distill essential oils used by the perfume and cosmetic industries as well as a range of cosmetics that they produce themselves sold under the brand name Anthemis.

The open house on Saturday brought together local residents and visitors from as far away as Canada, to share with the entrepreneurial Genevay and Guenin families ideas on how rural communities can flourish through the cultivation, manufacturing and use of essential oils.