Saturday December 12th @ 10 am

Meeting Site: Bruce and Margery Blavin’s new home!
Topic: Rare and Unusual Fruit from Asia & Africa
Speaker: Steven Murray

 A very impressive young man, Steven will be talking about the many types of rare and unusual fruiting plants that he has encountered in the last two years during his travels across Asia and Africa. He will have pictures and maybe even a few samples!

Steven is a young fifth generation California farmer. He grew up on his family’s farm, located in the southern end of California’s Central Valley. In the middle of an historic drought, Steven has become an expert on growing fruit crops using deficit irrigation practices. He is both farmer and naturalist, aiming to profitably produce unique high value crops that can lift the quality of people’s lives while at the same time caring for the natural world and conserving resources. His research facility is filled to the brim with over 400 species of 1500 rare fruit varieties and it is still growing rapidly.

Steven is one of the best examples of a young rare fruit explorer/collector. His lifelong desire is to experience many rare fruits in many exotic lands. Through his travels, he has developed an extended family of international rare fruit aficionados. He has traveled to over 45 different countries and works at learning their languages, cultures, and the indigenous rare fruits of their ancestors. In addition to his native language of “Californian,” Steven speaks Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese. He is also conversational in French, Italian and Japanese. He recently completed his college studies with a year and a half in China, followed by a multi-country trek across Asia, searching for rare and exotic fruit.

Steven is currently employed at Murray Family Farm in Bakersfield, CA, managing commercial and direct market orchards, farmers markets, the launch of certified organic crops, and the identification/evaluation of rare fruit varieties for direct market sales opportunities

 Steven earned his ​Bachelors of Science in Plant Science from California Polytechnic University, Pomona, California. He has ​​minors in Agronomy and Chinese. His BS studies included attending Peking University and ​North China University of Technology, both in Beijing, China​.

 Steven has worked as the ​Greenhouse Research Center Manager, Bakersfield, CA; Havest Manager, Bakersfield, CA;  ​and Rare Fruit Sales Manager, Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, CA. He has served as a ​tour guide domestically and around the world. In China, he also worked as an English teacher.

​With many interests, Steven is a member of the ​International Fruit Tree Association, ​Bakersfield Sister Cities, California Rare Fruit Growers (various chapters), ​Bakersfield Succulent Society, North American Fruit Explorers (Board member), ​California Orchid Society, International Butterfly Breeding Association, and ​Brevard Rare Fruit Council. He has been the keynote speaker at various conferences.

Steven has received various awards and recognitions. He was Student of the Year at Bakersfield College and both Plant Science Student of the Year and Chinese Language Student of the Year at Cal Poly Pomona. Steven received the California Rare Fruit Growers national Scholarship, as well as the CRFG Orange County chapter scholarship two years in a row. He won the Cal Poly Pomona Agriculture Scholarship and the Kelly Family Scholarship.

Following Steven’s talk, you may want to go three blocks to Sepulveda Gardens and share a holiday meal with the Los Angeles Chapter. The camaraderie created by eating together is something very special So, please bring a dish to share and join us. The LA Chapter presents a very large table of wonderful food items, so please do not go empty-handed. You may also bring any plants that you have propagated to share with other members! To get to the LA Chapter meeting, retrace your steps to Magnolia Blvd. The Sepulveda Garden Center will be directly in front of you. There will be more directions available at Bruce’s home.