My name is Jared Gulian, and I’m still not entirely sure how I ended up living in paradise.
My partner CJ and I are two American city boys who moved to rural New Zealand in 2006. We live on 20 acres just outside the charming wine and olive village of Martinborough, at the bottom of the North Island.
It’s a little different from where I grew up, which was the suburbs outside Detroit. I used to stay out till 5am dancing at clubs downtown, where we were frisked at the door for guns and knives. Now I get up at 5am to do yoga, write, and feed the chickens. Go figure.
Why ‘Moon over Martinborough’?
When I started this blog in 2009, I called it ‘Moon over Martinborough’ because I was so taken with how the olive grove looks in the moonlight. The silvery leaves in the blue light seem magical. Moonshadows gather at the base of every tree like dark, round puddles.
We weren’t selling our oil commercially back then. Then somehow the blog became popular and people started leaving comments asking where they could buy our oil. That led to our own artisan line of extra virgin olive oil, which we named after the blog. After a while I started turning the early blog content into a book, also called ‘Moon over Martinborough’. Now that book is being published by Random House New Zealand. Who wudda thunk? So many moons!
Read more about:
I’ve always loved stories. In this blog I’m interested in telling true stories with conflict, rising tension, climax, and resolution. So sometimes I have to wait for the real life resolution to happen before I can write about events here. New posts come out when the moon is full.
For the sake of privacy I change the names of our neighbors and friends. I use real names for those who have a public profile (vineyard staff, retail staff, the chickens). Other than the name changes (and a little poetic license here and there) the stories on ‘Moon’ are true.
“The only thing that keeps us from floating off with the wind is our stories. They give us a name and put us in a place, allow us to keep on touching.”
– Tom Spanbauer, The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon
The blog has received some recognition:
- Gold award for New Zealand from Expats Blog
- Silver Bloggy Award
- Expat Focus Recommended Website
- Named one of the top 10 travel related blogs in New Zealand by GoOverseas.com
- Featured on Radio New Zealand’s ‘Country Life’
- Finalist in the ONYA awards
- NetGuide Magazine’s Site of the Month
- Selected stories appear regularly in Wairarapa Lifestyle Magazine – see the list of magazine stories here
- Podcasts played on Coast Access Radio 104.7FM and Radio Southland 96.4 FM
- Featured in the Wairarapa Times Age and the Martinborough Star
- Featured in a white paper called ‘Using Social Media in Product Management’ by Brainmates
- On the recommended reading list for the Writing for the Web course at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
Our 20-acre property has about 500 olive trees and a trout stream just out the bottom gate. Plus we have heaps of other fruit and nut trees — apricot, peach, pear, plum, chestnut, almond, pine nut, feijoa, and even a quince tree. Cattle and sheep graze in the paddocks.
Sadly our aged rooster, Old Man Henry, died in 2010. Our elderly pig, Old Lady Lucy (pictured right), died in 2011. Recently we inherited an elderly cow named Blossom. We’re not sure how long she’ll be with us. We figure we should put a sign out front that says, “The Moon over Martinborough Twilight Home for Geriatric Farm Animals.”
Let Frances Mayes have her Tuscan sun, and Peter Mayle his year in Provence. I’ve got my moon over Martinborough.
For more on how CJ and I ended up here, read my life story as recipe at ‘Make your own olive oil in 23 easy steps‘.
Articles and interviews
Below is a list of newspaper, radio, magazine, blog, and book interviews.
- Central Districts Farmer: Good Oil Boys Find Paradise (April 2012)
- Moon Travel Guides: Living Abroad in New Zealand (January 2012)
- Dominion Post: My Favourite Table (September 2011)
- Radio New Zealand: Country Life (July 2011)
- Coast Access Radio 104.9 FM (February 2010)
- Run Abroad: Interview with a Runner (February 2010)
- Wairarapa Times-Age: Blogger over the Moon (October 2009)
- Expat Focus: Expat Experiences (September 2009)
- Wairarapa Lifestyle Magazine: From Motown to Martinborough (September 2009)
If you like what you read, please leave a comment. They make my day and let me know people are out there, enjoying my stories.
- Facebook: MoonOverMartinborough
- Twitter: MoonOverMboro
- Good ol’ fashioned e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org