Apr 4, 2023
Rice Fruit commits to conservation

Rice Fruit Co. is working to improve apple orchard productivity by working with Pollinator-Friendly Gardens.

The hum and buzz of pollination is a welcome sound within the apple industry. Pollinators like honeybees and butterflies are vital to farmers, ensuring successful fruit production.

After years of decline, honeybees are making a comeback; protection and propagation are of the utmost importance for pollinator insects. Nurturing their habitats and providing long-term food and shelter is an integral part of sustaining the life force behind our food.

Rice Fruit Co. is working to improve apple orchard productivity by working with Pollinator-Friendly Gardens.

Last spring, Rice Fruit’s Valerie Ramsburg developed a new idea while walking through the orchard. “I noticed that we had just pushed out an older orchard which left a vacant block of land behind our office building, she said in a news release. “That sparked the idea of creating a pollinator habitat.”

“We worked closely with a local nursery to bring the vision to life. By planting a diverse range of native plants and flowers, Rice Fruit has created a thriving habitat for honeybees and butterflies, bats, and other insects that feed on pests like the brown marmorated stink bug.”

The idea of a pollinator habitat was met with unanimous support at the Gardners, Pennsylvania’s Rice Fruit.

“The pollinator garden served as the perfect enhancement to our surroundings, rendering a picturesque landscape that also aligns with our sustainability initiatives throughout the company,” Brenda Briggs, vice president of sales and marketing, said in the release.

Briggs believes the project will not only benefit the essential pollinator population, but it is also an investment in education.

“It’s our responsibility to educate on the ecological practices of farming and the indispensable role of nature in bringing produce from the farm to the supermarket shelves,” she said in the release. “You can have perfect weather conditions and robust apple trees at the pinnacle of their production, but if you don’t have the bees to pollinate, all you have are trees with pretty flowers.”

Rice Fruit continues to improve its business practices for a healthier future, and this garden represents only a small fraction of its efforts, according to the release.

To learn more about the importance of pollinator insects and pollinator-friendly plantings in your area, visit here: Native Pollinator Plants by USDA Farm Resource Region.


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