Audra Lawlor wasn’t always “girl meets dirt.” For ten years, it was “girl meets pavement,” as she worked for the high-stress, cut-throat world of finance at New York’s Goldman Sachs. Skirt suit and stiletto clad, she would stare out her office window and dream of escaping the city and living in some far-flung idyll.
The first step toward the dream began with “girl meets boy.” She met and fell in love with Dublin-born Gerry, and together, they worked up the courage to leave the city with two dogs in tow. They landed just about as far across the country as they could go – a tiny island off the northwest coast of mainland Washington state called Orcas. Reminiscent of Gerry’s Ireland, the two settled into a farmette to start a family and a business.
Starting a family proved more difficult than the couple anticipated, so Audra decided to change her focus away from birthing children to birthing a business. She jokes that Girl Meets Dirt was conceived at the family Thanksgiving dinner in 2013, when she brought 15 stacks of boxes filled with jam jars into the dining room. Tossing piles of labels on the table after the turkey was cleared, she announced, “Ok everybody, start labeling.” They thought she was crazy.
But the only thing crazy about Girl Meets Dirt are the crazy good, incredibly complex and concentrated flavors, all derived from the season’s harvest each year in Orcas and the surrounding San Juan archipelago. Donut peach and fresh lime zest. Italian plum with minty anise hyssop. Every jar is carefully crafted using French and Spanish methods, slow-cooking the preserves and never using artificial thickeners.
And you know how it goes. After the business was born, she and Gerry were soon pregnant. Now with two kids, Genevieve and Life, their family is firmly rooted on Orcas Island.
Those city stilettos are gathering dust in the farmette closet. She’s switched to farm boots.