At Starr Ranch Growers, we strive to be true to ourselves and our customers. By growing and nurturing fruit instead of producing and monetizing we have become a leader in a culture of keeping things simple. By striving to be our best we just so happen to help our customers out too.
Look into the heart of any truly successful company and you’ll find a pulse created by family. Sometimes close-knit by ancestry and DNA, and sometimes the products of shared vision and values, it’s a solid corporate kinship that blaze trails while holding a solid moral compass.
We believe that one such company is today’s Starr Ranch Growers, founded in the heart of Washington’s apple country in 1934 by the late Paul “Tommy” Thomas. And as the Starr Ranch Growers family marks our 75th year as a leading fruit grower, packer and shipper, we vow to continue the traditions Tommy learned from his forebears and passed on to successive generations.
Simply put, Tommy was taught to study and learn, work hard and treat others honestly and respectfully. For three-quarters of a century that failsafe formula has worked well not only for our Wenatchee-based fruit company but also for our customers.
A vast fruit universe and a global family form a small world
In those early years the apples were shipped in wooden boxes as well as old whiskey barrels. And, remember sea vessels provided no refrigeration; so the enterprising Mr. Thomas insulated the barreled fruit with sawdust, and during the long voyages the ships’ holds were opened to allow cooling.
Much of the apple volume – Winesap Variety! – was grown on the original 300-acre Starr Ranch south of Pateros on the Columba River. Starr was formed by Tommy and other growers in the 1940s, and pears were added to the export manifest.
When the orchard was flooded in the 1960s with the construction of the Wells Dam, Tommy and his fellow partners bought two more 100-acre ranches near Brewster and constructed the first packing plant now known as one of Star Ranch Growers’ warehouses.
In the 1970s, after 40 years as a Washington fruit man, Tommy sold his interest in Oneonta Trading to his son Dalton.
At the time, Starr Ranch Growers consisted of fifteen growers packing out of a single shed. Today, there are more than 7,000 acres of orchards and multiple plant locations.