David R. Peterson, a past president of the Texas Vegetable Association and a founding partner in Red Starr and Tex Starr Distributing of Alamo, TX, died while out of the country Sept. 7.
Mr. Peterson started working for the family business, Starr Produce Co., out of Rio Grande City, TX, in 1975 after serving four years as a captain in the U.S. Air Force. He worked alongside his father, A.V. Peterson, at Starr Produce— as did his brothers, Robert A. Peterson and James E. Peterson, and their friends and partners the Sheerin, LaGrange, and Bass families.
Mr. Peterson began his career as an assistant farm manager and worked his way up to president. He launched Starr Produce operations in Mexico, growing honeydews and seedless watermelons in Tecoman, Colima and Campeche.
In 2005 Mr. Peterson — along with son Lance Peterson and colleagues Cesar Ramirez Guerra and Nazario Rodriguez Guerra — bought the Tecoman, Colima operation and founded the company Red Starr.
Red Starr specializes in honeydews, personal watermelons and papayas. Under Mr. Peterson’s leadership, the company developed a special variety of papaya, the “Royal Star,” which has helped create a new category in the industry. Its smaller size and higher Brix levels make it unlike other varieties and it is categorized as a specialty fruit.
“David R. Peterson’s years of experience and vision were the catalyst that helped Red Starr become a major producer of honeydews, personal watermelons and “Royal Star” papayas out of Mexico,” said Lance Peterson.
Mr. Peterson was a loyal, lifelong supporter of Texas A&M University and actively involved in AgriLife extension projects in College Station, TX, and Weslaco, TX. He was also a board member of Sharyland I.S.D. School in Mission, TX.
A memorial service will be held Sept. 21 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in McAllen, TX. For further information contact TexStarr Distributing at 956/283-8014.