Joe has been to this fruit stand before.
Traveling on I-5, north or south, it is at the Copus Road exit – I think it is 208. At the exit go east about 1-1/2 miles and it is on the right.
My first time at Murray Family Farms was on Memorial weekend. Busy place. The parking lot was packed and the small store was crammed with people. Mostly everyone inside was freely sampling the fruits. Cherries were seen mostly being tasted by the customers. Some people were holding crates of strawberries and cherries while the majority had a bag or two in their hands.
There are two public restrooms that are for everyone to use. They are not marked as Men and Women, they are for anyone to go in when they are free to use. So ladies, be forewarned. You may find the seat up when you go into the restroom.
On one of our visits, during a less busy day, we had the chance to speak with the people that work here. I neglected to get their names as I talked with them but I did get some information about Murray Family Farms from this young man.
This young man is the resident baker for this store. He got his culinary degree in Idaho. He and his family have lived in this area of California for a long time and used to come to Murray Family Farms for the pumpkin patch in the fall with his children. Now he is one of them and makes the pies from all the fresh fruit. The pies are scrumptious.
According to this young man, Murray Family Farms began 13 years ago around 1997. The Murray family was not from around here and did not grow up on any of the farms. A vineyard and buildings, long neglected, had been for sale so they purchased it and began tending the grapes. Through their husbandry the vineyard began to come back and produce. Enough so the Murray family could purchase more land.
The fall pumpkin patch was a huge success during their growing stages and was a yearly fixture. As time passed more land was purchased and strawberries and other berries were added to the growing list of produce. Neglected cherry orchards were next acquired and they began to grow and produce under the Murray’s. Today there are two locations where their produce is sold and they have a website http://new.murrayfamilyfarms.com/History – . The website is not yet set up to place orders but I am told that will be coming in the near future.
One of the features of the Murray Family Farm is “You Pick”. For $6.00 per person you can walk the rows of berries, or be in the orchards, and pick your own fruits. If you make preserves and jellies, or you are one that loves the canning season this could be something you might enjoy doing.
I asked if everyone was weighed first before they went to the fields then weighed again once they returned. I was told “No, silly. The first pound is free.” So you can feel free to eat as you pick.
There is a vehicle with some kind of trailer thing with seats and a roof over your head. This vehicle takes you to the produce of your choice, drops you off at a “rally point” and you are given plastic buckets to fill with your desired fruits. When you are done you go back to the tented “rally point” and wait for the vehicle to come and get you to take you back to the store. There you will pay for your days pickings and off you go to be the culinary artist in your home.
I suppose your children may find this fun – for about 10 minutes – as you stroll the rows of strawberries or hunch over the blueberry bushes, work through the prickly bushes for raspberries or black berries, or reach over your head through the cherry orchards. Once you arrive home with your days work there will be berries in the freezer for later, and the aroma of cooking strawberries or black berries waft through your home as you create your jellies and preserves.
If you have the stamina for it you might find your own niche in processing raw fruits into sumptuous pies and tarts you can sell to local restaurants. You may be the next Food Network darling with your pies, tarts, and preserves that people clamber after.
If you don’t want to go through all the trouble of being in a hot kitchen you can purchase the jellies and preserves Murray Family Stores has to offer.
You can also do what Joe and I did. Grab a bag of cherries or a couple peaches, maybe a nectarine or two, how about a hand full of apricots and take them with you on your trip.
Some people that have stopped at the store have not got far from the door before they were into the bags of cherries. Lips and gums red from the delicious fruits, finger tips stained from getting the seeds extracted from their mouths and dumped in the trash can at the sidewalk. The strawberry eaters toss the leafy part any place and get another one out of the bag or container in preparation for the next bite. Both types of people do a lot of slurping and wiping the backs of their hands across their mouths to stem the flow of fruit juice before it stains their clothes. Yum!!!
Now, I’m hungry. “Hey, Honey….”