The Bakersfield Californian – November 21, 2012
By Gene Garaygordobil
Not many people think about heading out to the barn to watch a movie, especially in November.
But Murray Family Farms of Bakersfield, eager to build on its family-fun focus, decided to jump into the movie biz, screening the films in the “Indiana Jones” series starring Harrison Ford. “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” will be presented on Saturday, closing out the film series for the year.
“We picked these movies because they have a cult-like following, and they are enjoyed by audiences of all ages,” said Jennifer Smith, media coordinator at Murray Family Farms.
The $8.99 admission price covers not just the movie but entry to the farm and all its activities, including a hayride, duck races, petting zoo, bonfire and four mazes.
The open-air pole barn, where the screening takes place, is really just a roof on a set of poles, she said.
“We have a large stage, and we put up our 16-foot-by 9-foot screen. We have hay bales and heaters, but people are encouraged to bring in their own chairs and blankets to make them as comfortable as possible.
“The first night, we got about 100 people out here,” she said. “The second, probably had about 120.”
Murray Family Farms started out in 1989 as a simple roadside fruit stand, Smith said.
“Steve and Vickie Murray built it up from there, building the now iconic red barn, along with a main store in the mid-2000s.
“Vickie was raised on farms, so that is the lifestyle she brings with her,” Smith said. “Steve is an excellent farmer, and really knows his farming. They started out with just a tiny trailer and now have the farm, barn and stores.”
Guided tours on tractor-drawn hay wagon rides showcase the business’s 43 acres of farm crops, and participants can sample by picking. Stops are made along the way to observe farming activities and collect customers who’ve stopped to pick their own fruit.
The farm’s petting zoo includes goats, sheep, ducks, geese, chickens and a little more exotic fare for a farm, such as pigeons, miniature horses, peacocks and even turkeys.
About 178 varieties of fruits and veggies are grown on the farm and are available in sequence year-round. The retail stores offer fresh produce, snacks and gift items. Seasonal favorites include 18 varieties of cherries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, citrus, artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes and pumpkins.
Family movie nights are just the latest community event that Murray Family Farms has been dabbling in.
“We also have a Cherry Festival in May and had a Bluegrass Festival in June,” she said. “And we just had our October Fun Fest last month.”
Smith said things slow down a bit in December because of the holidays, but that doesn’t mean the farm won’t have additional activities.
“We will likely have a holiday-themed event that could involve a Christmas film geared toward for younger kids in December,” Smith said.