Archive for the ‘MISSION’ Category

History of South Texas Citrus

Thanks to Lori Grossman for this great overview of the history of South Texas Citrus:

Rio Star Grapefruit

Rio Star Grapefruit

The southernmost tip of Texas, known as the Rio Grande Valley, is home to the World Birding Center, thousands of sun-starved “Winter Texans,” and a thriving citrus industry. The next time you savor a sweet Rio Star grapefruit or a delicious TexaSweet orange, thank John Shary. He’s the man who started it all.

Once a pharmacist from Omaha, Nebraska, Shary relocated to Corpus Christi, and first visited the Valley in 1912. Excited by the potential for growing citrus, he bought acreage near the town of Mission. Shary started with grapefruit, which was irrigated with water from the Rio Grande. In 1922, the first railroad car filled with fruit from his Sharyland orchards was shipped to market.

Scientists called the land along the Lower Rio Grande the most fertile in the world, next to land along the Nile in Africa. It comprised about one million acres of prime agricultural land. Shary organized the United Canal Company to provide irrigation. As more citrus trees were being planted, the cost of transporting the fruit by rail was increasing. Shary pushed for the extension of the Intracoastal Canal to the Valley. By the time the extension was completed, Texas citrus was being shipped around the world.

In 1917, the man known today as the Father of the Texas Citrus Industry built a mansion in Mission, Texas. It includes a two-lane bowling alley and a ballroom where the Shary’s daughter, Marialice, married future Texas governor Allan Shivers. After their deaths, the Shary-Shivers Estate was given to the University of Texas Pan-American.

A tradition for over 75 years, Mission hosts the Texas Citrus Fiesta at the end of January. This popular event includes the coronation of Queen Citrianna and King Citrus, plus the colorful Parade of Oranges. So, let’s all hail the King, Queen, and John Shary!


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Citrus & Onions

Springsweet Onions

Springsweet Onions


South Tex Organics is a citrus and vegetable farm located in the sub-tropical Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. They began in 1984 with 60 acres and sent their first shipment of organic citrus to Whole Foods in Austin in the back of a horse trailer. 

South Tex Organics currently harvest from over 500 certified organic acres and distribute throughout the US and Canada, making them the largest organic citrus growers in Texas. They specialize in growing Rio Star grapefruit, several oranges varties along with Meyer lemons, Texas SpringSweet onions and watermelons.


You can order South Tex Organics citrus and onion products at www.stxorganics.com

South Tex Organics
5 1/3 Miles N. Doffing Road (FM492)
Mission, TX 78572
Contact: Dennis Holbrook, (956) 585-1040

P.S. Here’s a little Texas onion history from Texas A&M.  Read it and weep.

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