In 2011, Audra left her NYC Wall Street job, with her husband and two dogs and moved to Orcas Island, WA. The city life wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t home, and it often left her feeling as though she was missing something.
The San Juan Islands had always been a place where she dreamed of living. So when the opportunity presented itself, Audra packed up and moved to five acres of farmland, down a one lane gravel road, in pursuit of roots for herself. She found them in the orchard trees that scattered the property.
As fall arrived, that first year on the island, the trees were heavy laden with fruit. Unable to bear the weight, the trees dropped the fruit from their branches, covering the ground with plump and ripe spheres.
Not wanting the fruit to go bad, Audra made a multitude of pies and froze them, to save the summer harvest for the winter. That same year, she also learned a more effective method for preserving the fall harvest, turning the ripe fruit into preserves.
Pursuing this idea further, she made her preserves in a borrowed industrial kitchen, and then sold them at her local farmers market on Orcas Island.
These delicious preserves soon became an ornamental part of holiday gatherings, dinner parties, picnics, and get togethers. Delighting the palettes of family and friends, as an accompanying treat to cheese, bread, ice cream, and more.
Now a business of ten employees, Girl Meets Dirt has come a long way since its early beginning. The core of the business still remains the same though, hard, beautiful, and rewarding work.
When the harvest of fall calls, all the fruit must be retrieved, hundreds of pounds carried to the kitchen, and pitted by hand. Then the preparation begins, creating the sweet concoctions, in seasoned copper pots on hot stove tops. Followed by patient waiting, to let the preserves achieve the right concentration and the desired set, free from added commercial pectin.
Photo: Amber Fouts
This is the beauty of Girl Meets Dirt, letting the land speak for itself and the fruit stand on its own, telling its own story. Calling out the beauty of nature, and encouraging us to find our own roots.