Proudly growing hundreds of varieties of traditional and specialty crops,
picked ripe daily our farm to you.
Steve Murray was born to a farmer, a father who was a farmer like the father before him, 5 generations strong. Steve was on the path to following those footsteps, carrying on the legacy of farmers. He lost his father at the age of 18, at a time when Steve was attending college to compliment generations of traditional knowledge of the land with a degree in plant sciences. This upset would cause them to lose everything they had but Mr. Murray doubled down and struggled through this difficult period, eventually graduating from college to become a member of the agriculture industry as a consultant. His heart still rested in his families heritage, knowing someday he would have his own farm.
He steeled that wish - to return to his roots - in his heart for years, and met his wife Vickie, who worked in restraunts. They shared a passion for the land in different ways. In 1983 he would get closer to his goal, starting S.M. Apiaries. It quickly grew to 300 beehives, and gave him the windfall he needed to take the next big jump. They traded their small Bakersfield home for a 20 acre table grape farm in the country, and sectioned off 10 of those acres to try out growing cherries in the valley. They would go on to sell produce from a small table and tent in front of their acreage off the edge of the 58 free-way, traveling hundreds of miles to attend Farmers Markets with children in tow.
It would take another 6 years before their test cherries would harvest, and it was immediately apparent that their choice to try out cherries would become a special one. The mixture of the placement of the mountains and nutrients of the soil matching the cherries natural chemistry. They were featured in the L.A. times for having the best cherries at the Hollywood Farmers Market in only it's 11th year, giving them the boost they needed to trade the small road side tent for a trailer that could be air conditioned by way of fans, open doors and area coolers.
In 2001 the Murrays would open up a Fruit stand that would eventually grow to become what we know today as the Big Red Barn, affectionately called the "BRB" by many young people who they would come to hire. Mrs. Murray would begin working on plans for a harvest festival, an invitation to families to come see their farm and pick their own produce. She herself had grown up with a father dedicated to organic growing and healthy practices. She would spend time working on farms and wanted to share that experience with others as it was these memories that helped shape her trajectory in life. Her plan would be to create a place that not only grew great produce, but offer a location for families to come where they could learn, laugh, and share in the joy that comes along with working the land. This would be the integral turn from being a farm that grows good fruit to being a core part of Kern County's vast history in Agriculture, reminding local residents of their rich culture of fresh grown produce.
As it stands, Murray Family Farms will employ over 500 individuals at the height of it's season and offer employment and growth opportunities to first time work-force members. Their produce is available all across California, Nevada, and to Japan where they are hailed for their quality and sold as a luxury in the birthplace of the cherry.
Murray Family Farms would like to invite you to become part of the family.
Mrs. Murray would use her heritage as inspiration to highlight what had been done so long ago in the Grapes of wrath, to bring recognition to the many immigrants that traveled to Kern County in search of farm work. She even went so far as to open a restaurant - the "Cal-Okie Orchard Kitchen" - where fusion mid-western comfort food and coastal cuisine abounds. This brought about the creation of the Award Winning "Okie Fry-Pie", A Bakersfield original delight.
Her plan to make the farm a place for the people succeeded, now seeing daily visitors in the hundreds and reaching to the thousands during one of the many events that grace the Big Red Barn every year.
The Willy Wonka of Fruit
Steven Murray Jr
Steven Murray, their son, travels the world collecting rare produce to naturalize some of the most delicious and unique flavors spanning the globe. Currently he manages one of the largest collections of rare fruit in North America. Amidst all this, he is spearheading the development of Che Fruit in California, a small but delicious berry with a flavor akin to watermelon and seeds with an almond like reminiscence.
Through his diligence, he’s grown the distribution of produce nationwide and continues to bring new and amazing varieties of produce from the edges of the earth.
Steve Murray Sr
Mr.Murray went on to develop industry changing experimental growing techniques and methods to grow fruits out of climate, bringing regular harvests of raspberries and one of the few living banana trees in Bakersfield, something that was unheard of up to that point. He’s since held the chair of the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, recieved numerous awards of recognition for his philanthropy and sharp wit that’s brought hundreds of jobs to Kern County.
Steve can often be found recanting the history of native american tribes who lived in the land on which he farms.
Katie Murray currently handles HR, helping hire and manage one of the largest sources of local employment in our area. With her kind demeanor and detail oriented focus, she brings a happy and healthy workplace to all 90+ Team Members who call Murray Family Farms their second home.
Katie also happens to be the main character in a romance film in which we all live.
Sean ‘Money’ Murray
There is too much to be said about Sean Murray than can fit in a small text block, a cliche but quite true. He wore many hats around the farm, between managing the retail side, blowing out farmers markets or selling cherries between cars during traffic on the freeway. Sean regretfully passed 3 days after his 26th Birthday. His spirit and memory thrive in everything that is Murray Family Farms.
To get to know Sean a little better, the best thing to do would be to hear it from his friends and family.
Seans friends put together a Scholarship fund in honor of Sean.
We would be honored if you would consider donating.