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Chris Rufer

The Morning Star Company
Founder
Chris J. Rufer founded what has become The Morning Star Company in 1970, driving one truck hauling tomatoes and peaches from farms to processing factories. The enterprises today grow tomato seedlings, transplant them, harvest tomatoes, and truck them to its three processing factories located throughout Central California. Chris designs the factories and oversees construction. Products include ingredient tomato paste and diced tomatoes for sale to consumer products food manufacturers, and consumer tomato products for the private label food service and retail markets. Two facilities in Kentucky produce pizza and spaghetti sauces for high-volume chain restaurants. Morning Star’s production is responsible for over a quarter of the U.S. volume of tomato products. The company operates under a unique system of organization, best described as self-management. The concept is absent any formal managers or supervisors – the structure is totally flat. Chris has actively supported several libertarian organizations and causes over his entire career. His education includes degrees in economics, agricultural sciences, and business, concentrating in finance and strategic planning. Chris and his wife, Melodie, have two children, Karrie and Todd.