I met Vero in 2014, when I arrived in Maine. I remember being pregnant at that time and that was my first reason why her clothing brand Baobab Organics called my attention at the Common Ground Fair ( a celebration of rural living that promotes organically grown Maine produce). When I first started talking to her I noticed her energy was contagious and became curious about this women.
Two years later and just last week, I was able to visit her her home and studio in Waldoboro, Maine. Both her and her husband built this stunning house where you feel totally immersed in the beautiful wood. I was impressed by every detail, especially the stone pizza oven in the kitchen, the heart of the house.
Vero’s studio is nothing how she described over the phone. It’s a beautiful and inspiring work space. Her energy flows around the room while she discovers new colors for her next collection.
Vero was born in Chile and that’s where she met her husband, a native of Maine and so the story goes how a Chilean girl ended up in Maine. Vero was already deeply immersed in the textile world back then. When she moved to Maine and was pregnant with her daughter Sofia, that was when the idea of building her own clothing baby clothing brand was conceived and in 2008 she launched her first design.
What was hard back then was the challenge of looking for something environmentally friendly. She felt the need to offer something without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers for the little ones. She said, “there was nothing here in Maine and it was hard to find organic fabrics back then.” Another challenge that Vero faced was the lack of textile workforce. This really stuck with me. I had known that Maine was a keystone in the industrial revolution, but with nearly all the mills closing by moving products overseas, the workforce disappeared.
However after doing some research online, skilled industrial labor seems to slowly be building up again. “I think there is a great resurgence happening in Maine,” said Anne Emlein, chair of the Textiles, Apparel & Fashion Program at the Maine College of Art. “The grass died down and it is springing back up again.”
Today Vero works with organic fabrics printed with water based inks. All of the water used in the printing process is collected and reused and does not contain harmful solvents. Aware of water pollution she chose to work primarily with one color/mono printed fabric. She also uses Color Grown Organic Cotton, this is the purest version of organic cotton you can possible find. Today, naturally colored cotton species are under recovery programs in the US and Peru, and their productions represent a very small percentage of the annual cotton harvest as compared with white cotton production.
What struck me the most about meeting Vero, was identifying with her. I’m an immigrant myself, and share the feeling of starting all over again in a new country, not knowing from where to start. It takes a lot of energy and self confidence, to drive something and make it alive and attractive. She had a vision back then that was hard to find, but she looked hard, even when local and organic was not a trend, yet she believed in her idea.
Today she has a beautiful product, but what I see is a beautiful concept with a great mind behind it.
As new parents, trying to keep up with the outdoor lifestyle we used to have is not always the priority, yet we fully realize that when we take time off from our wee one, every gulp of fresh mountain or ocean air counts.
With bikes, tent, boat, surfboard (just in case), snorkels, firewood and a car full of goodies we headed north to Acadia National Park - together - like it used to be. The forecast was perfect and with calm winds holding upon arrival, we took the boat to the Atlantic waters as soon as we arrived to the park. With nobody else out at sea, save the fisherman, we felt alone for the first time in too long. At each bend of the Acadian coastline I discovered that the Fall has become my favorite season here in Maine. The colors are bright, tourists gone and the nights are crisp.
Baker Island stands at the tail end of the Cranberry Islands, a perfect circle before the Atlantic engulfs it. The feeling of the place is like being 200 years back in time. The oldest light house in the region stands tall and right beneath the towering guard is a perfect little treasure museum where the names and photos of generations of light house keepers keep their stories like a scrap book. But you really have to keep your eyes open because there are hidden treasures everywhere. Like the fresh tomatoes and apples we ate along the way to what they call the Dance Hall - something you must experience for yourself.
Upon returning to Mount Desert Island, we did a mandatory stop in Somes Sound - the lower 48’s only Fiord, and watched the sun dip over the pines from a fishing dock behind frosty mugs of Fresh Cut.
Mount Dessert Island campground is really a favorite among campers. Nestled at the head of Somes Sound, the location and the waterfront sites are magic.
Like everyone else, we rushed up Cadillac Mountain to capture the first rays of sun on the eastern shores of the US, and after a hearty home cooked pot of oatmeal along with fresh cocoa, we descended the mountain and switched gears to bicycles. Outside of the boat, this is really the only way to explore the place in my eyes. There is so much to do, to see, to smell - that being inside a car you cannot let your five senses run wild. So whenever you decide to go and visit Acadia don’t forget your bike.
Along the bike, we decided to hike. Not just the standard trail, but Acadia’s double black diamond - the Precipice Trail - which at times resembled a 5.7 climb. While super fun, we were grateful we abided the rules and didn’t take our son or our dog as it is definitely not recommended for either.
Our bikes carried us along Acadia’s loop road following the sun west and then eventually back to Bar Harbor where a tasty meal set us straight for the journey back to Portland. After this intimate and slow look by both boat and bike I can definitely see why this place is one of the most popular destinations in Maine. Visiting in fall is a great option to avoid huge crowds and enjoy the memorable season.
One thing that I have learned very quickly is that Maine summers are awesome but short, so you must enjoy every single day. With work picking up for everyone or almost everyone, the tourists and friends visiting from afar, and just trying to cram in every moment, summer is certainly the busiest time of the year making it harder to see friends because everyone is doing the same thing - maximizing the warmth - whether it is gardening, working, visiting new places, hiking or going strawberry, blueberry, raspberry or apple picking, every day is an adventure.
I wanted to share some shots from our adventures while we were trying to work and enjoy every possible moment of our short summer.
Welcome fall, a time to get back together with friends and sit back a little bit before we welcome the real cold weather.