Starr Ranch Growers Announces Fair Trade USA Authorization; Jim Thomas and Brett Reasor Comment
WENATCHEE, WA - As shoppers continue to remain interested in knowing where their fresh produce is coming from, Starr Ranch Growers is offering them peace of mind as the apple grower has announced its new Fair Trade USA Authorization. With the fall apple harvest kicking off, the Wenatchee, Washington-based company is continuing to evolve its sustainability and labor strategies to show its dedication to its people and its consumers.
“It is our social responsibility to ensure every Starr Ranch Growers employee has a seat at the table—whether they’re in an orchard, warehouse, or office,” said Jim Thomas, Owner and President. “It started out as certifying allocated sites within our operations, but we quickly knew we couldn’t stop there, and have since expanded certification to all Starr Ranch orchards and Custom Packing Warehouses—benefitting nearly 1,800 farm workers. I couldn’t be prouder of our team on this milestone achievement.”
The agreement with Fair Trade USA helped to solidify 3,300 acres in both Wenatchee and Quincy Custom Apple Packing Facilities, according to a press release. Receiving Fair Trade USA authorization required dedication and persistence from the team, and will grow Starr Ranch Growers’ core values, sustainability efforts, and enhance its company culture.
“The goal of becoming Fair Trade Certified has been a top priority of ours as we’ve built upon our sustainability program,” explained Brett Reasor, Chief Executive Officer. “We’ve placed a significant emphasis on generating sustainable solutions. The core pillar of our sustainability initiatives begins with the people—which is why we value farm worker welfare and community development, while nurturing the land in which we grow.”
Fair Trade is a global movement that is made up of producers, companies, consumers, and other advocates and organizations that are putting people and the plant top-of-mind. In supporting Fair Trade Certified Goods, consumers and buyers are choosing companies that are empowering farmworkers, with 80 percent of the premiums retailers pay for the goods going directly back to workers. For Starr Ranch, this means additional support and compensation for its employees and personnel working in the orchards.
“Our farm workers and labor personnel are the backbone and core of our business—this is our commitment to providing further incentives, support, and opportunities for all,” continued Reasor.
Currently, the company has been granted certification for apples just as the fall season arrives; however, Starr Ranch plans to work toward certification for additional commodities in the coming year.
The company will continue its partnership with Fair Trade USA and display the trademarked logo on its consumer cartons and apple bags.
As Starr Ranch Growers and other suppliers from across fresh produce work toward Fair Trade Certification, AndNowUKnow will continue to report.