In 1953, Jim and Bunny Murray decided to leave the hustle and bustle of New York and to purchase a group of adjoining properties in Albemarle County, Virginia. They were understandably enticed by the varied landscape of rolling pastures and dense forests, interspersed with lakes and streams feeding into the Rivanna River (now a reservoir). Naming their new home “Panorama Farms” after the beautiful panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Murrays raised a family of eight boys on the land who have nurtured roots in the area ever since.
Following the land purchase, these loyal conservationists dove headfirst into a new farming lifestyle and explored a number of agriculture and livestock ventures ranging from hay and cattle to sheep, pigs, and waterfowl. Panorama Farms operated a combination of conventional farming enterprises which their fifth son Steve began managing in the early 1970’s. As farming practices proved to be increasingly difficult to sustain the large family, Panorama Farms decided to rethink its efforts.
Over time, the farm has established a number of enterprises that allow it to maintain its rural character. Panorama Paydirt established itself as a leader in local renewable resourcing by creating rich compost products from regional organic material. Panorama Running is the home course for the University of Virginia and Albemarle County High School cross country teams. Panorama Events provides a unique venue for weddings and other special events in a charming barn on the property. Additionally, the farm hosts the ARC Natural History Day Camp for three weeks every summer. Combined with the income from lease agreements for cropland and hunting rights, the farm has managed to remain free of development and to preserve its pristine, 360-degree views.