Oneonta/Starr Ranch Growers of Wenatchee, Washington, has received the World Trade Club’s 2006 Governor’s Trader of the Year Award.

The award has been given annually since 1967 to companies that excel in market development and innovation, contribute to Washington State’s economic growth, and contribute to their community. Previous recipients include the Boeing Company, Microsoft Corporation, and Tree Top, Inc.

Oneonta/Starr Ranch Growers (formerly Oneonta Trading Corporation) was founded by the late Paul Thomas in 1934 and is one of the largest privately-held produce companies in Washington State. Paul’s son Dalton Thomas is president and owner.

Oneonta was among the first exporters of Washington apples in 1934, and more recently was the first U.S. shipper of Northwest cherries to Australia. It owns 2,500 acres of orchard and three packing houses in Washington, and markets fruit for Gilbert Orchards, Columbia Reach Pack, G & G Orchards, and Prentice Packing and Storage Company.

In addition to exporting Northwest tree fruits, Oneonta is a leading exporter of apples, citrus, soft fruit, grapes, and kiwis from California. It has exported to 45 countries. In 1990, the company received the Washington State Governor’s Export Award for agricultural/ fisheries products.

As well as exporting from North America, Oneonta imports tree fruit from New Zealand and Chile in the off season.