Jun 7, 2023
Rice Fruit celebrates 110 years

Rice Fruit Co., a leading East Coast apple grower and packer, is marking 110 years of growing tree fruit.

Rice Fruit logo“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,” Ben Rice, president, said in a news release. “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.”

Based in Gardners, Pennsylvania, Rice Fruit is a fourth generation family-run fruit packing business in the heart of Pennsylvania’s apple country.

Rice remains dedicated to growing, packing and shipping sweet-natured fruit to consumers. A leader in innovative packinghouse technology, Rice Fruit is situated on the easternmost ridge of the Appalachian Mountains whose peaks and valleys create a microclimate ideal for growing apples, and many other delicious fruits, according to the release.

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 realized that the microclimates of the easternmost ridge of the Appalachians were perfect for cultivating apples.

In 1913, Arthur Rice built the first packing house in Biglerville, Pennsylvania.

“In the 100+ years that Rice Fruit Company has been in business, they have remained steadfast in their commitment to nurturing and growing some of the best apples on the East Coast, but also in developing relationships, embracing innovation, and utilizing the best technology for packing and shipping apples,” according to the release.

Ben Rice

In addition to the commitment to their business sustainability, Rice Fruit in the past decade 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.

“Protecting the environment and nurturing the habitats of pollinator insects is paramount in a business that directly relies on pollination of their crop for a successful season,” Rice said in the release. “When we take the thoughtful and necessary steps to ensure our local ecosystems, we are laying the groundwork for the success of our future generations. Our 200th birthday is just 90 years away. Thank you for being a part of our journey, and here’s to another 110 years of growth and success.”

Born in the picturesque foothills of rural Adams County, Rice receives, stores, packages and markets fruit for more than 40 farm families in the surrounding areas


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