Behind the Scenes

When Life Gives you Lemons

Lemon Lavender Shrub on a  snow day

Lemon Lavender Shrub on a  snow day

We're pretty partial to San Juan Islands fruit - and love to labor with the good ol' stuff from island trees that have been producing fruit and sharing their bounty for over a century. But in the dark of winter, when the light tips beyond the solstice, we keep our hands busy with the citrus that accents all of our jams, organically sourced from California.

People often lament that we don't make a marmalade (we do, but not in the traditional sense -see Quince Marmalade.) It may sound silly to say it feels inauthentic to do so, in an era where local has multiple meanings (is the maker local? are the beans local?) but we count our blessings. We're blessed with legacy orchards, filled with luscious pears, apples, plums & quince. Not lemons. And yet what we do bring in to press for their perfect acidic antidote to sweet pomes, we want to make the most of. Enter our Lemon Lavender Shrub, hot off the copper pots. Island lavender meets bitter lemon oils from said lemon rinds & juice, organically sourced white wine vinegar, and fair trade organic cane sugar. The bitter/sweet/sourness is perfection for cocktails (French 75?) and refreshing spritzers. It captures winter in the south (lemons) & summer in the north (lavender), and reminds us that while we make throwback preserves and bow to the old dames, modern can be fun (and delicious) too! 

Just watching the late February snow melt away - I'm certain of it: cheers to spring! She's coming!

A Thanksgiving Story

Genevieve "Neve" Sophia Lawlor, born October 25th, 2016 to her adoring Mum, Dad, and big brother Life

Genevieve "Neve" Sophia Lawlor, born October 25th, 2016 to her adoring Mum, Dad, and big brother Life

So much can happen in just 3 years. 3 years ago, I summoned my extended family to our Thanksgiving table, filled not with a brined and roasted turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, buttery mashed potatoes and bacon glazed brussel sprouts...but with cases upon cases of the inaugural Girl Meets Dirt jams - handmade by me, with local fruit handpicked by me, in a borrowed kitchen, with all the love I could muster - with all the love I couldn't expend on a little baby, which I so desperately wanted. This little company that could, was launched in the midst of loss- in between miscarriages number 4 and 5 - in between bouts of grief and intense moments of longing - but after a bountiful fruit season that taught me to have faith in renewal, and rebirth - and to await the blossoms of spring.

Around my Thanksgiving table that year, piled with rolls of our original labels (they seem vintage now!), we made something real together, and gave each other hope (husband, mom, dad, sister, brother, sister-in-law, friends). Jar by jar, each by hand, picking up one single jar, affixing a crooked label, removing a crooked label, trying again with steadier hands, passing them to my mother who ended up being quite adept at affixing a straight label in just the right position, we launched Girl Meets Dirt into the world. It was a small gesture, a small launch, but it meant something big.

Sitting here today, 3 years later, with a toddler sleeping in his big boy bed, a 4-week old napping in my arms, and my mother baking Thanksgiving pies and wondering what cheese to serve with the Fig with Bay preserves I've brought her - this business is life as usual around here, in the best of ways.  Things change. Sometimes in very big ways. We often don't know why, or how. And yet we can and do adapt. We make do. We love even more deeply. We squeeze harder, lean longer. We give thanks for the things going right. We give thanks to those who've stood by us in the worst of days (label by label), and in the best.

And around here, we eat jam, together. My son, who I doubted would ever come, had it in his yogurt this morning- a recipe I'd made yearning badly for him, spilling love into hot sugar, a copper pot, and hand chopped pears. And now, he has a sister, and I feel like I have no words anymore. And that's a very, very beautiful thing.

Happy Thanksgiving.     

xo Audra

Genevieve & big brother Life

Genevieve & big brother Life