Our story

After several years travelling the world, exploring our beautiful planet and encountering the men and women who inhabit it, we decided to settle down in the French département of the Gers to work on a project that we really cared about: creating an ecological farm in which to live with our children in harmony with nature and animals.

As soon as we saw this plot of land covering 77 hectares of woods and pastures, we immediately pictured our troop of female donkeys (jennies) and their foals. Then came the crazy dream of growing the organic aromatics that we would distil on site.

We trained up with specialists in donkey rearing and lavender production, and from meetings to training courses, little by little, the project came to life. Our first donkeys arrived in January 2012, and we planted our first lavender bushes that same year. From there, the idea of setting up a soap factory was simply a matter of course.

Our farm is a place in which you can unwind, and enjoy the delicate perfume of our handmade products made with love. Feel free to visit us, stay at the farm, admire our magnificent troop of Pyrenean jennies, and discover the secrets behind distillation.

Our Commitments

We are genuinely committed to respecting the environment, people and animals.

  • Agricultural production: Our donkey milk produce and aromatic plants are certified organic by Ecocert.
  • Handmade products: We have been awarded the Nature & Progrès label for our soaps and cosmetics made using raw materials sourced from organic agriculture that are palm oil free. The Nature & Progrès specifications are incredibly rigorous and are totally in line with our stance on ecology. Our brand has also received the Slow Cosmétique award, which is an “ecological and ethical initiative grounded in the common desire to promote a natural, healthy and reasonable form of consumption of cosmetic products.”
  • Accolades: Prix de la Fondation du Patrimoine pour l'agrobiodiversité animale (French Heritage Foundation prize for animal agrobiodiversity) recognising our work in preserving the Pyrenean donkey, a breed at risk of extinction; and the Prix national de la création agro-alimentaire bio (National prize for organic agrifood creations) for our donkey milk spread. 
  • Two kilometres of hedgerows planted to give wildlife and wild fowl a place to hide and eat. By contributing to the reforestation efforts for our countryside, our visitors can soak up the views of a landscape in which forests are slowly coming back to life.
  • Manual and mechanical weeding of aromatic plants without the use of chemical products.
  • Donkey milk produced with absolute respect for our animals. 
  • Modern facilities that respect the environment: Adopting environmentally-friendly practices is something that we hold dear.
  • Rainwater recovery system
Used to supply the drinking troughs for our donkeys and to cool the still (distiller) when distilling aromatic plants. 
  • Pellet stove for our home and tourist accommodations
Wood stove for the still (wood collected directly from the property)
  • Earth-to-air heat exchanger 
To reduce our energy consumption
  • Solar panels
Installed on the farm building and the soap factory to produce green energy. We believe in renewable energy and the need for ecological transition. In fact, we consume less energy to power our facilities than what we produce!
  • Pyrenean sheep wool insulation
Wool is an excellent form of insulation that fully meets the new demands of an environmentally-friendly world.



Our donkeys

Our herd includes thirty or so Pyrenean jennies, and each year we are delighted to bear witness to the birth of around a dozen foals on the farm. Our jennies are listed in the studbook for this breed with the French national stud farm association, Haras Nationaux.

The Gascony region is part of the Pyrenean donkey’s far-reaching birthplace, and that’s why we naturally chose this breed in particular. In doing so, it is fully in keeping with the virtuous circle to which we are committed. Given that the Pyrenean donkey is a protected breed, being involved in protecting and promoting these animals is a perfect match for our values.

Our jennies graze on 30 hectares of pastures and woodland throughout the year, and they have shelters that they can enter and leave as they wish.

Jennies carry their baby for between 12 and 13 months. To keep them healthy, we have decided to give them a break from breeding every two years. What’s more, Alice, our animal osteopath, stops by regularly to check up on them.

Births take place in the open air, and what a delight it is to experience it or to wake up one morning and see a newborn foal following in its mother’s footsteps in our rolling meadows!

The pyrenean donkey

There are seven breeds of donkeys in France, and they hail from the four corners of the country.

To the North, you’ll find the Cotentin and Normand donkeys, in Central France, you’ll have the Grand Noir du Berry and the Bourbonnais donkey. To the West, you’ll find the Baudet du Poitou donkey. In Southeast France, the Provence donkey and lastly, in the South West: the Pyrenean donkey.

For centuries, small-scale mountain farmers chose the Pyrenean donkey (âne des Pyrénées) to help with their work as it has a robust constitution, first-rate rusticity and an unparalleled sureness of foot. We can now distinguish between two types of Pyrenean donkey, with the main difference being their size: the Gascon, standing at between 1.20 and 1.35 metres, is well suited as to pack and tow work; the Catalan, standing at more than 1.35 metres, is mostly sought after to draw vehicles and produce mules. These two types of donkeys have the same dark coat, except for the tip of the nose, around the eyes and their belly, which are white.

Established in 1994, the French association of Pyrenean donkey and mule breeders, Association des éleveurs d'ânes et de mulets des Pyrénées (APY), obtained official recognition of this breed from the French Ministry of Agriculture in 1997. Since then, it has been steadfastly involved in the production, promotion and use of this fantastic animal. It manages the studbook together with the supervisory bodies, organises breeding and handling competitions, and holds pack and cart driving classes. 

All these actions improve Pyrenean donkey husbandry and its fitness for work. What‘s more, by encouraging knowledge sharing, the technical skills of breeders and users alike are improved.

The Pyrenean donkey is therefore a valuable part of rural development: a partner for leisure activities, a towing force for eco-friendly farming practices, a producer of donkey milk cosmetics, a hiking companion for ecotourism... the list goes on! This easy-going, generous and loyal equine always finds a way to be of service in so many ways !

Aromatics

Aromatic plants really are pure gems of nature!

For the last ten years or so, we have been growing organic aromatics on the Ferme du Hitton: lavender, rosemary, helichrysum, peppermint, cornflower, etc. Our fields are just a stone’s throw away, only three minutes away from our craft distillery. 

We use steam distillation to extract the perfume from our aromatic plants, meaning that water vapour passes through the plant material. At the end of the process, we have two distinct products:

- Essential oil – the quintessence of plants, a pure concentrate of aromatic molecules.

- Floral water, also known as hydrolat – is the water vapour that was used to distil the plants and then cooled to return to its liquid state. It’s an incredibly valuable cosmetic, if produced under optimal conditions, and is not at all a sub-product of distillation as you may sometimes hear. Our floral waters are of the very highest quality and have no added preservatives. As a maximum, one kilogramme of plants will produce just the one litre of floral water (but more often than not, it’s 0.5 litres of floral water per kilogramme of flowers). By using opaque glass bottles that are ideal for packaging, our floral waters are protected against UVs, their properties are preserved, and we can keep our commitment of reducing our environmental footprint.

Discover our donkey milk soaps

Handmade cold-process soaps

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