Meet John and Molly Chester
John and Molly Chester, a husband and wife team, left their job titles of ‘documentary filmmaker’ and ‘private chef’ to become farmers and pursue their dream vision of starting Apricot Lane Farms in 2011. In December 2015 they welcomed their first son, Beauden, into the family.
Farmer & Chef
Prior to Apricot Lane Farms, Molly spent her days in the kitchens of various celebrity clients throughout Los Angeles as a traditional foods private chef. She is active in the traditional foods community and author of both the popular blog Organic Spark, and the Back to Butter Cookbook. Apricot Lane Farms is an extension of the kitchen for Molly because a great dish truly begins with well-chosen seed. In addition to overseeing the transition of 31 acres of avocado and lemon trees to organic and biodynamic practices, Molly managed the planting of over 5,000 new trees in 2012 and the construction of a state-of-the-art vermicompost complex. She will now take on the awesome challenge of developing 22 acres of Biodynamic fruit trees into a thriving, delicious jam & chutney line.
Farmer & Documentary Filmmaker
If you saw him elbow deep in a cow assisting a difficult birth, you’d never guess that John Chester spent the first 20 years of his career making documentary films. As the director of such critically-acclaimed films as Lost in Woonsocket (OWN) & Rock Prophecies (PBS), as well as the star and show runner of Random 1 (A&E), John has built many teams in his career, which certainly helps to develop the amazing group of people at Apricot Lane Farms.
In addition to serving as farm manager with wife Molly Chester, John heads up the Apricot Lane Holistic Livestock Program, runs the day-to-day operations of the farm, and manages our active WWOOF program. John’s passion for animals is exemplified in the documentary series he made for Animal Planet and in the way he guides the very unique livestock program on the farm. The surprise ending is that for this filmmaker, farming isn’t such a stretch; during his early years in film, John spent his spare time between projects running his family’s farms, gaining experience vital to his present career.