Rice Fruit History
Born in the picturesque foothills of rural Adams County, Rice Fruit Company is located in the heart of Pennsylvania’s apple country. Rice Fruit Company receives, stores, packages and markets fruit for over 40 farm families in the surrounding areas.
Rice Fruit Company is a family run business, which was founded in 1913 by Arthur Rice. The Rice Family has been growing apples in Adams County since Daniel Rice arrived as a young German immigrant in the 1790's. Like the other small farmers in the area, Daniel Rice and his descendants grew apple trees in the scenic foothills of the South Mountain, the eastern-most ridge of the Appalachians. The region has ideal soils and topography that forms effective micro-climates for growing many kinds of fruit. With these valuable qualities, a commercial fruit growing industry began to develop in the 1900's. The company's first packing house was built in 1913- in Biglerville, PA- and throughout the twenties or thirties, Rice Fruit Company shipped apples all over the world. In 1955, Arthur Rice, Jr., built a new packing facility located in Gardners, PA. This remains the site of operations today. Arthur Rice, Jr. also formed a partnership with William Lott, to form R & L Orchards Co, and grow high quality fruit to be packed by Rice Fruit Company. The partnership between the Rice and Lott families continues to this day.
In 2017, Brenda Briggs, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, took over leadership of our sales department from John Rice who has embraced a fruitful retirement. And just as the weather changes with the seasons, the last decade has been one of family transition as well. Ben Rice, Emily Rice-Townsend and Leighton Rice joined Rice Fruit Company as the 4th generation of the Rice family to run the business. In 2017, Ben Rice became President of Rice Fruit Company, succeeding his father, David Rice. Ben works alongside David to manage packing operations. Leighton Rice manages the Quality Control Program and Emily Rice-Townsend focuses on business management. They have taken great strides to take the company into the future.
Rice Fruit Company takes great pride in selling one of the delights of nature- a beautiful, delicious apple. In the more than 100 years that Rice Fruit Company has been marketing fruit, they have been diligent in moving forward and embracing new technologies, while also staying true to their valued heritage. A passion for this work includes a commitment to carry the legacy into the future.