The Story: Naturalist

The Story consists of six vignettes describing a small part about how each scent came to be. We want you to know more about us—we believe personal connections are the key to understanding people and understanding people is the key to joy. Consider this one small way in which we can connect with you. 


 Tree stripped of bark and all but one branch, The Subway, Zion National Park, UT.
Tree stripped of bark and all but one branch, The Subway, Zion National Park, UT.

The Naturalist is a blend of outdoors and citrus. Kind of a strange mix. Here’s why:

I grew up in Vista, CA, which is about 25 minutes from Valley Center, CA and 2.5 hours from Joshua Tree National Park. These two locations were the epicenter of my upbringing. Valley Center is where you will find Polito Family Farms and Joshua Tree is where I found myself.

Polito Family Farms was the location of every great adventure of my young life: Working up the nerve to get the eggs out of the hen house for the first time. Taking the reigns of the quad from my grandpa and driving it through the groves with him leaning over ready to correct me if need be. Collecting snails at $20 a bucket. And the orange fights…those were epic. You learned at a young age that trying to hit an older cousin with an orange from across the creek is damn near impossible, but a rotten orange thrown at the branches above said cousin? That created a shrapnel shower of sticky, smelly, rotten orange juice. This knowledge, while leveling the playing field, led to another discovery we made pretty early on: Run fast and hide well. 

I visited Joshua Tree for the first time in 7th grade. I returned 2-3 times a year for the next six or seven years. Nearly every trip was some combination of myself, my brother, and a rotating group of friends. We would spend nearly every waking hour tearing our hands to shreds on the coarse crystalline diorite. We weren’t technical climbers by any stretch, our M.O. was to hike into a pile of rocks and try and find a way out without getting lost or dying. We always succeeded with the latter, not very often with the former, but that was the point. We came up with terms like ‘birth canal’ for the tight holes we had to crawl through on our hands and knees, ‘nipple chafing factor’ a 1-10 scale to describe the tight gaps that required you to get as thin as possible (keep in mind we were all high school-aged dudes with varying low-levels of maturity), and then there was the dreaded ‘Oh Shit! factor.’ 

More than the experiences and the memories I made in this amazing park, were the moments of self discovery. It was in Joshua Tree that my passion for geology was born. It was in Joshua Tree that I discovered my faith through undeniably complex yet simply beautiful creation. It was in Joshua Tree that I learned the importance of fraternity, friendship, humility, and the freedom that comes with letting your guard down and being yourself. And it was on a solo trip to Joshua tree many years later, when I made the decision that I wanted to marry the woman that has now been my wife for over a decade.

No matter the trip, no matter who came, there was always one constant: Polito Family Farms. We would consume tens of pounds of satsuma and clementine mandarins, Valencia oranges, navel oranges, blood oranges, Fuyu persimmons, and we would add fresh avocado to everything

The Naturalist is not just about nostalgia. Those times in Joshua Tree—the memories with my friends, the rocks, the citrus (oh, the citrus)—are not stagnant memories from my youth. Those experiences formed me, and by extension The Bearded Savant, into the man and the company we are today.

The Naturalist is not just about nostalgia, it is a homage to the building blocks of the man, husband, father, and friend I am today. We all have our own Naturalist—the stuff we’re made of—this one is mine. 

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