The fresh produce industry is made of a patchwork of family narratives, stories stitched together by a generation of people making a life for themselves in America. These founding farmers took what they knew from their homeland and created a legacy that continues to this day. Rice Fruit Company is one of those stories.
Daniel Rice, a young German immigrant, arrived in Adams County, Pennsylvania, in the 1790s. Like other small farmers in the area, Rice and his descendants farmed many crops but soon came to realize that the microclimates of the easternmost ridge of the Appalachians were perfect for cultivating apples. In 1913, Arthur Rice built its first packing house in Biglerville, Pennsylvania. The rest, as they say, is history.
In 1913, Arthur Rice built Rice Fruit's first packing house in Biglerville, Pennsylvania.
In the 100+ years that Rice Fruit Company has been in business, it has remained steadfast in its commitment to nurturing and growing apples on the East Coast, but also in developing relationships, embracing innovation and utilizing technology for packing and shipping apples.
In addition to the commitment to its business sustainability, in the past 10 years, Rice Fruit has also committed to environmental protection and sustainability. Beginning first with a green roof on a controlled atmosphere storage building, then solar panels, the company recently began a pilot project featuring a pollinator garden behind the packing facility.
Right: Ben Rice
Protecting the environment and nurturing the habitats of pollinator insects is paramount in a business that directly relies on the pollination of its crop for a successful season. “When we take the thoughtful and necessary steps to ensure our local ecosystems, we lay the groundwork for the success of our future generations. Our 200th birthday is just 90 years away,” says Ben Rice, president.