As soon as she entered the medicinal garden in Tay Ninh, Ms. Bao quickly broke the leaves of the clover tree and smelled the scent, then quickly turned to weeding, nurturing the roots to the fragrant plants ...
Not very carefully when all these leaves will be gathered and filtered to make pure fragrant incense.
Every weekend, when Tay Ninh, Dong Nai, Cu Chi, Hoc Mon, Ms. Le Thien Bao (39 years old) take the time to go to the gardeners to order plants to plant incense, then check Check the quality of trees, soil quality to ensure plants are planted and cared for in the most natural and clean way.
"Incense stick as big as index finger"
"Most of the households that I plant trees have fields outside, they only grow medicinal herbs in the garden for fun, so they don't fertilize or use any chemicals, I also take care of it," said Bao. Still briefly examining the citronella trees, smelling each wormwood leaf to know how the scent changes when the rainy season comes.
For some plants that need to be planted in large quantities but are difficult to grow well with hot climates in the South such as rosemary, basil (mint), she dives to Dak Lak to find organic vegetable gardeners, not using Pesticides to order they grow attached directly in the vegetable garden.
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All leaves are then collected at the workshop to put into production incense finished products. The process of making a batch of incense here takes three times longer than normal, because from leaves to incense must be dried in the wind (dried in the shade, not in the sun) instead of being put in the dryer for a moment.
Therefore, everyone has to look after the leaves, incense powder like a child, it rains a little hot when it rains.
Because of this, the finished incense stick does not have the usual yellow color, instead of brown leaves and dried flowers. The scent of incense is not strong, not very strong, on the contrary, very gentle, deeply hidden and after burning incense is just a pure white color.
Incense is usually made of sawdust, marinated coconut fiber with chemical flavoring. So where did this idea of making natural incense come from?
Ms. Bao's explanation is very simple: “Growing up in the countryside, the land and sky was wide, so since I was a child, I was fascinated by the aroma of plants and plants. There are always a few betel leaves and plum leaves in my bag to breathe. When returning home from school, they followed the male healers near their house to pick leaves, smell the smell, ask questions, they know, the more they know, the more they love. Growing up in Saigon to work, finding the scent of plants and plants as in the countryside is so difficult, I think it is good that I make incense so that every day there is a hometown next door. So let's do it ”.
Easy to say, but the way to make incense is also difficult. Having never made incense, even less wanting to follow the way of making incense from sawdust, coir like everyone else, Ms. Bao started with plants in her hometown garden.
At the end of the week, just finished working at the company, she drove a motorbike a hundred kilometers back to her hometown in Tay Ninh, collected sometimes two or three hugs of fragrant leaves, sometimes dozens of bags of mulberry trees transported to the city. Then, by herself she dried all the flowers, leaves and roots, then cut, chopped, grinded them into incense powder and finally pedaled the mini incense making machine to produce each incense stick.
The hands, which are only used to writing, gradually become callous, scarred horizontally and vertically, the office is only full of papers and books, now replaced with dozens of bottles of aroma and recipes, but Ms. Bao again very excitedly: "God has endowed me with a nose that is very sensitive to the scent, so working with the scent is not too hard at all, on the contrary, it is very fun!".
The first batch of incense sticks, "the incense stick is as big as the index finger, the smell is like burning leaves, not fragrant," said Bao. But not discouraged, this little woman persisted with incense, sticking to the lab for six months to get the first incense with the best scent.
Ms. Sam Cam (Ms. Bao's colleague) said: “At that time, we rarely met Ms. Bao because most of the free time she was in the research room how to make incense, which everyone was very surprised. of course because at that time she was having a stable job with a high position.
But when she gleefully called us to come and sniff the first incense smoke she made, I understood that there are questions why there are no answers, all "born of love". .