About our Association
As the only surviving citrus fruit cooperative in Texas, we at Edinburg Citrus Association take our responsibility very seriously, not only to our growers but also to our loyal customers. We are very proud of our rich heritage, and we continue to look toward the future.
Our company is truly steeped in history. The roots of many of our growers’ families go back to the 1920’s when early land excursions brought families to the Rio Grande Valley to settle with the hopes of their involvement in the young citrus industry.
In 1929, a small group of citrus growers had a dream to build a citrus organization. After several years of discussion, that dream became a reality. ECA held its first meeting on June 20th, 1932 and the contracts signed that night established the foundation of an organization that truly has stood the test of time and mother nature. The first years proved to be very busy ones for the new organization. While the Rio Grande Valley experienced a hurricane that virtually destroyed the crop, the board moved forward by selecting three labels for their grapefruit and oranges, Tropic Moon, Gangway and Tarzan. A few years later, Wild man, Edinburg’s Best and Tropic Valley were added. While the Tarzan, Wild man and Gangway labels were discontinued, the others still exist today. As a matter of fact, the Tropic Moon brand is still known as the top brand of the Edinburg Citrus Association and can be found all over the country.
From the 1940’s into the early 60’s, the southernmost tip of Texas experienced freezes that resulted in replantings. Changing the face of the Texas grapefruit industry, growers began replacing white and pink grapefruit with reds. Instrumental in introducing new red varieties was Dr. Richard Hensz, professor and director of the then Texas A&M Citrus Center. In 1971 and again in 1983, Dr. Hensz, who has also served as an ECA director, introduced the Rio Red variety. While few Stars remain in the industry, the Rio Red, now known as the Rio Star, has had a hugely positive impact on the South Texas Citrus industry and is the primary grapefruit variety at ECA.
Proud of their special Texas RED Grapefruit and their organization, in 1981, the association’s growers were the first in the Texas Citrus Industry and among the first in the nation to individually label pieces of fruit with the logo of the company.
Since the time of ECA’s inception, the Rio Grande Valley has experienced devastating freezes, hurricanes, floods and drought. Edinburg Citrus Association has been able to adapt to those adverse conditions and prosper. Certainly, the pioneer spirit of our initial grower members and this Association has not only persevered through time but has also thrived.