Carl Frederick Schuster came to the United States in 1933. His mother, Bertha, could see problems ahead for Europe, so she decided to send her oldest son to Texas to live with her two brothers, Max and Fred Krenmueller, who had started a farming operation in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas -- and that is where Carl was headed at the age of 15 years.
In 1941, Carl married Wilma Reis and with $900 and a second-hand truck, they started their married life farming a 40 acre plot south of Alamo, TX. From this beginning, their family grew to include four children -- three girls and a boy -- and a farming operation that now covers almost 4,000 acres of farmland. Carl was always committed to finding a better way to farm and a better way to market what he raised. In 1970, a group of farmers got together and created Rio Fresh, Inc. They wanted to be able to grow, pack and ship their own produce straight from their fields to the customer.
Rio Fresh Today
Over the past 45 years, the ownership of Rio Fresh has changed. Rio Fresh is now completely owned by members of the Carl and Wilma Schuster family and their spouses. We have also increased the variety of crops we grow to approximately 30 different vegetables and herbs. We have made many improvements to the packing shed and farmland as we strive to stay abreast of the newest, safest methods to grow, pack and ship our produce to our customers. On the farm, we have increased our usage of drip tape. The use of drip tape allows us to use less water to irrigate our crops. All of our fields are laser leveled which also helps to conserve water usage. We are strong believers in crop rotation that allows us to put nutrients back into the soil.
We are proud to be Texans. We realize the Texas climate, fertile soil and an abundant water supply have created the environment that enables us to do what we do. We are proud to be one of the oldest family farming and packing operations still around in our area, surviving and prospering. We currently have twelve second- and third-generation family members working either at the shed or on the farm. Our goal is to pass our farming operation to the fourth generation of our family. We feel the very future of the Texas produce business is in their hands and they will need all the help we can give them just as our ancestors gave it to us. We want to continue to plant, pick and pack Texas produce as long as we can.