Mary Mooney

Owner of Mooney Farms


What inspired you to start your business?

Mooney Farms is a third generation, family and women-owned company that began in 1987 as a kiwi farming business, during the farming crisis in the 1980s we began selling fruit on the side of the road. Because of our hard work we were able to save the ranch, then we started canning kiwi jam and selling it at farmers markets. We wanted to expand into more items, and then one night, as we were looking through my great-grandfather's cookbook, and we found one of his favorite recipes. It was for sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil with Italian herbs, and that began our Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomato line.

What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?

Being a woman in the produce industry that is dominated by men was a challenge, but because I am a hard worker, I gained their respect and put myself on an equal playing field.

What three traits define you?

Persistent, hard-working, and creative.

How has being a WBENC-Certified WBE helped your business?

Being a part of WBENC, has allowed my smaller business to have an audience of large retailers which has helped me to continue to grow my business and place products in stores.

What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?

I enjoy seeing the growth of the plant-based trend. There are new innovations every day and it is a great fit with tomatoes. Consumers want real, simple food.

What do you love about being a business owner?

I love defining my own path, creating, innovating and having complete independence. I get to be involved in all aspects of my company and drive it at my speed.

How do you define success?

Happiness, I do not think that any amount of money is worth more than your own happiness.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Never give up and to always surround yourself with good talent.

What’s the best way to start your day?

I like to start my day, with coffee in hand, sitting in a quiet place making mental lists for the day to come.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a cowboy like John Wayne.

How do you unwind after a long workday?

I enjoy cooking a gourmet meal and enjoying a glass of red wine with family.

What do you like about your workspace?

I have created an environment that does not feel like a workplace, I have created a home. My family is here and it is truly a place I look forward to going to every day

Fill in the blank:

When I face a challenge, I... meet it head on.

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself life is short, don’t be in a rush.

The one thing I couldn’t live without is… my family.

By this time next year, I will be… continually innovating new products.

To get my creative juices flowing, I… interact with people.

Mooney Farms

Bella sun Luci

Built on a foundation of family values, quality, and integrity, three generations of our family work at Mooney Farms. We have a history of using premium ingredients to create Bella Sun Luci, a line of healthy Mediterranean inspired products featuring California Sun Dried Tomatoes.

Learn more.