Welcome to the Los Banos Tomato Festival Presenting Sponsor Highlight Page!
The Morning Star Company
The Morning Star Company was founded in 1970 by Chris Rufer as a one truck owner operator, hauling tomatoes to other canneries. Today, Morning Star accounts for over 25% of the California processing tomato production, supplying 40% of the U.S. ingredient tomato paste and diced tomato markets, with industrial sales of approximately $350 million.
In 1982, Chris founded a tomato paste processing plant with three grower investors, and originated and implemented two important innovations in the tomato industry; namely, (1) the dedicated production and marketing of industrial tomato paste and (2) the marketing of tomato paste in the "300 gallon bag-in-box." As tomato paste requirements grew The Morning Star Packing Company-Los Banos was founded and built in 1990. Through innovative thinking, common sense, and experience we improved the quality and lowered our cost of producing tomato paste. This facility processes approximately 530 tons of tomatoes (180,000 pounds of tomato paste) per hour.
In 1995, The Morning Star Packing Company-Williams was built. The Williams facility combines state of the art technology with economies of scale. This facility processes approximately 630 tons of tomatoes (200,000 pounds of tomato paste) per hour, making it the largest tomato processing facility in California. We also established the California Sun Harvesting Company (Cal-Sun) in a partnership with prominent tomato growers primarily to reduce the cost of tomato harvesting and create efficiencies in the harvesting, trucking and the processing of tomatoes.
In 2002, Morning Star founded Liberty Packing Company, Santa Nella. The original plant was built in 1975, but completely revamped in 2002. Liberty Packing does all the diced processing for Morning Star which has been doing bulk diced products since 1993.
At all Morning Star facilities, we emphasize innovative thought, and we strive to use available resources and technology to their fullest potential in order to continuously improve quality, productivity and service for our customer. As important as quality, service and price are, we know there is more. To remain competitive for the long term, we must be innovative. That is why we rigorously maintain our position as the major force developing and implementing new and improved technology in our industry.
The key ingredient in 78% of Americans favorite recipes is tomatoes. .
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