Jonathan Carr and Nicole Blum, Sustainable Orchadists and Natural Cidermakers
Connect with Jonathan and Nicole:
Name: Jonathan Carr
Occupation: Sustainable orchardist, natural cidermaker, fruit and food explorer, homestead builder and tinkerer, contrarian, dedicated father and husband.
Place of Residence: Western Massachusetts
Background: A life-long amateur botanist, Jonathan trained at Rutgers and the University of Massachusetts in agricultural and fruit sciences. This has proven to be only a mild impediment to realizing sustainable small-scale growing solutions.He is a proud alumnus of the University of California Santa Cruz Farm and Garden Program, one of the epicenters of agroecology and the organic farming movement. Carr ran an organic market garden in Ireland, labored as a licensed handyman, and gadded as a private estate gardener. On the cusp of middle age, he has come to embrace the aphorism “mistakes are our greatest teachers”, as it proves that he has long been under excellent tutelage. Taking the notion of questioning authority to be a grave responsibility, he would like to ask why nobody in charge will prioritize incredibly serious issues like climate change and agricultural sustainability? In the meantime, he is consumed with trying to figure some of these things out and engage with others who would like to do so as well.
Co-owner of Carr’s Ciderhouse (with wife, Nicole Blum), producer of natural hard cider from sustainably-grown apples and other delicious traditional cider products. Their goods have been featured by the likes of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Yankee Magazine, Real Simple, Food and Wine, Town and Country, Cidercraft and MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
Operates a small organic fruit nursery of several thousand trees to supply his orchard with new planting stock.
Maintains a modest on-farm apple breeding program to develop novel pest-and-disease resistant cider apple cultivars.
Runs a diverse organic homestead including fruit trees, berries, vegetables, grain crops, chickens, and goats, to keep his family well supplied with vital food.
Currently working to develop new small-farm haying equipment and systems based on the walking tractor platform.
Co-Author (with wife Nicole Blum and sister-in-law Andrea Blum) of the Ciderhouse Cookbook: 127 Recipes That Celebrate the Sweet, Tart, Tangy Flavors of Apple Cider (Storey, 2018)
Name: Nicole Blum
Place of Residence: Western Massachusetts
Background: Born and raised in the wilds of outer Californian suburbia, Nicole came to her interest in food, farming, and crafting by way of elementary school teaching in San Francisco. Dragging her city-bound students camping and to environmental programs opened up a whole world of possibilities for crafting a life full of new skills (hint: you need to stay a step ahead and be very enthusiastic about milking goats and cheesemaking to counteract the trepidations of callow youth). Shortly thereafter, Jonathan seduced her and forced her to move to Ireland to live in rural idyll under a rudely thatched roof, subsisting on nettles, colcannon, and the music of uilleann pipes.
Nicole is the author of three books: Improv Sewing: A Freeform Approach to Creative Techniques; 101 Fast, Fun, and Fearless Projects: Dresses, Tunics, Scarves, Skirts, Accessories, Pillows, Curtains, and More (Storey, 2012); Stitch Camp: 18 Crafty Projects for Kids & Tweens – Learn 6 All-Time Favorite Skills: Sew, Knit, Crochet, Felt, Embroider & Weave(Storey, 2017), and The Ciderhouse Cookbook: 127 Recipes That Celebrate the Sweet, Tart, Tangy Flavors of Apple Cider(Storey, 2018).
Nicole lives in Western Massachusetts with a husband that can make anything not on the sewing machine (scared) and their two children.
Co-owner of Carr’s Ciderhouse (with husband, Jonathan Carr), producer of natural hard cider from sustainably-grown apples and other delicious traditional cider products. Their goods have been featured by the likes of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Yankee Magazine, Real Simple, Food and Wine, Town and Country, Cidercraft and MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
Raises a small herd of Nigerian Dwarf Goats because they are sweet and make the most delicious milk.
Transitioning off fossil fuels in earnest by driving less/biking more and cooking on a woodstove (both in the house and outdoor rocket stove).
Runs a diverse organic homestead including fruit trees, berries, vegetables, grain crops, chickens, and goats, to keep our family well supplied with vital food.