How an American city boy became a Kiwi farmer

October 23, 2013
By

Moon Over Martinborough,
by Jared Gulian (Random House, RRP $40)

We have all had our moments where we have thought “this could be the life”. You may have stood in a paddock or an orchard, the sun streaming down, looking at a view that people pay to see and thought, “yes, I could do this”.

In reality, few take that idyllic lifestyle plunge . . . and even fewer manage to handle it.

Jared Gulian was one of those who looked at a lifestyle – as an olive grower – and wisely realised a rural life was not for him. Only his partner decided it was and two American city lads because Kiwi farmers, complete with olive grove, chickens, sheep and pigs.

Moon Over Martinborough is the result of that foray into rural living, documenting the escapades the pair had in their first four years. It documents the challenges they faced adjusting to a rural way of life as well as producing olive oil, the way their at-times unorthodox approach worked, and how they came to appreciate the small community they quickly became a part of.

Well written, it has self-deprecating humour – the pair do not pretend to have all the answers so are humble in their approach.

With great pencil drawings of their life, it is a warm insight. Particularly clever is the inclusion of some of the recipes from meals they get to share with their neighbours, who are always willing to help.

It might not make you want to make the big change, but it will certainly show you what it could be like.

Mark Hotton

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