Humble roots grow the best fruit

It all starts with a good seed

For Starr Ranch Growers, that good seed was our founder — the late Paul “Tommy” Thomas. We’re proudly rooted in the traditions he started back in 1934, when he founded our company in the heart of Washington’s apple country. Tommy started Starr Ranch as a business that would grow and nurture, not produce and monetize.

Tommy believed in the power of hard work, honesty, and treating others with respect. For more than three-quarters of a century, we’ve been using these values as our guide. In all stages of our business, from growing to packing and shipping, we hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity.

Our company dates all the way back to 1934, making us the very first exporter of Washington apples.

Our proud history

In those early years, apples were shipped in wooden boxes and old whiskey barrels. Shipping fruit was no easy task since sea vessels had no refrigeration, but this didn’t stop the enterprising Mr. Thomas. Tommy insulated the barreled apples with sawdust, and the ship’s holds were opened to allow cooling during long voyages to keep the fruit fresh. From the very beginning, we’ve been committed to giving our customers only the very best.

Initially, most of our fruit was grown on the original 300-acre Starr Ranch, south of Pateros on the beautiful Columbia River. But in the 1960s, the orchard was flooded with the construction of Wells Dam. Tommy and his fellow partners bought two more 100-acre ranches near Brewster and constructed the first packing plant, which still lives on as one of Starr Ranch Growers’ warehouses today. In the 1970s, after 40 years as a Washington fruit man, Tommy sold his interest in Starr Ranch Growers to his son Dalton.

Starr Ranch Growers began with just fifteen growers packing out of a single shed. Today, there are more than 7,000 acres of orchards and multiple plant locations.

Oneonta Trading Corporation becomes the first exporter of Washington apples.
Oneonta Trading Corporation has its very first orchard planting.
Oneonta and Starr join forces! A partnership between Paul Thomas and Sid Baker forms Custom Apple Packers under the Starr Ranch label.
Herb and Dalton Thomas - sons of Oneonta's founder Paul Thomas - join the company.
Herb and Dalton Thomas acquire Oneonta from their father, Paul Thomas.
Dalton's sons, James and Brad Thomas, join Oneonta to begin the third generation of family ownership.
Dalton Thomas acquires sole interest in Oneonta.
Starr Ranch Growers is established to meet the ever-increasing needs of our growers and customers.
Starr Ranch Growers wins the Washington State Governor Trader of the Year Award.
A partnership between Starr Ranch and Diamond Growers is established, creating the Diamond Starr Growers name.
Starr Ranch reaches 75 years of success in the fruit industry.
Our Heritage