Updated: Jul 27, 2020
Hi, Dawn Digrius Smith here, owner of Sunrise Meadow Farm. It is a pleasure to meet you and share with you a little about my shop and its products. But first, I would love to tell you a bit about me:
I started my professional career as an archaeologist, working in Central and South America. Yes, you could say Ms. Indiana Jones...I excavated pre-Classic Maya sites in Mexico and Belize, as well as pre-Inka sites in Ecuador. It was an amazing experience and I learned so much about indigenous plants and ethnobotany during this period. I studied ancient agricultural systems and home-gardens.
Then, when it became difficult to travel outside the US for long periods (my children were small), I shifted my research attention to the history of paleobotany. That is, the history of fossil plant science. I studied plants that lived between 359-299 million years ago, preserved in rocks. During this time, I was an Assistant Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology and thought that I would be teaching for my entire career.
My dad, however, was diagnosed with colon cancer, and I moved back to California from the East Coast to be closer to my family. I worked in higher education administration until 2017 when I became Executive Director of a non-profit based in Southern California. It was a great job, but funding forced me back into a career in research again, until Covid-19.
I have always bounced back in the face of adversity; this time was no different. Being permanently laid off due to Covid-19 allowed for some personal time to assess what I wanted to do next- it was during this thinking time that Sunrise Meadow Farm was born! During my childhood, I was enthralled with stories of pioneers who moved west and lived off the land. I had always dreamed of owning my own farm, raising chickens and goats, growing crops, and canning, quilting, and preserving food. I learned all I could about these topics, checking book after book out of the library, making homemade cheese and yoghurt, baking, preserving fruit into jams and jellies, baking pies and bread. I took home economics in school, so I had a lot of experience sewing; for the first few years of my childrens' lives I made all of their clothes by hand. Thus, I had developed all of the skills I needed for this venture...
Soap-making was something I had not done in years. In my garden, I grow organic herbs and vegetables, lavender and rosemary being my favorite. I experimented with different products and found that melt and pour products work best at the moment (I do not have the space to work with lye for cold-process soaps right now).
Today, in order to survive Covid-19 and beyond, I have invested my time and talents into making artisan, natural soaps using locally-sourced materials whenever possible. I am fortunate that just down the road I have local farmers to supply products for my soaps. I am all about sustainability, so my products use minimal packaging and are recyclable, re-suable, and compostable, to reduce my carbon footprint. I chose Sunrise Meadow Farm as my business name, because 1) Dawn= Sunrise and 2) Meadows are beautiful places.
Rustic chic is our style!
Organic Rosemary from my garden! (photo taken by author)
Lavender my favorite scent! (photo taken by author)
My products draw their inspiration from my experiences and the environment: could be a flower in bloom, the smell of the morning after a rainstorm, or reflect a mood (Calming, Thriving, Good Sleep). Soaps form the backbone of my offerings, but I also sell organic lip balms, body sugars and salts, and facial masks.
Sunrise Meadow Farm can customize any product, and we use, whenever possible, organic, 100% natural, non-GMO bases. Check out our inventory of products; we add products weekly as I find new and unique sources!
On the pages of this blog, I will share with you tips on how to create your own, all-natural, bath and body collection; ways to take advantage of locally-sourced materials; and recipes. I look forward to hearing from you- send me your comments at email@example.com or topics to explore in my blog. As George Harrison sang, "here comes the sun."
All the best,