Rice Fruit Company's Ben Rice Discusses 110th Anniversary
GARDNERS, PA - Rice Fruit Company is taking its 110th anniversary as inspiration to fuel its future growth and progress. The company feels a deep sense of gratitude for the journey it has been on and the lessons it has learned along the way. The milestone is a testament to the unwavering commitment, persistence, and dedication of fruit growers that have fueled the company’s success through the years.
“The company’s history reminds us that change is inevitable, but the commitment to endure is a choice—one we gladly make each day and will continue to make for decades to come: to remain a trusted small business in this ever-evolving industry,” said Ben Rice, Chief Executive Officer. “We also plan to share some treats with our team to celebrate this momentous occasion, because what’s a celebration without cake?”
Daniel Rice, a young German immigrant, arrived in Adams County, Pennsylvania, in the 1790s. He and his descendants cultivated apple trees in the scenic foothills of the easternmost ridge of the Appalachians. In 1913, Arthur Rice built the first packing house in Biglerville, Pennsylvania; throughout the ’20s and ’30s, Rice Fruit Company shipped apples all over the world. In the 1950s, a new packing house was built and is still the main heart and soul of the company.
“In 2004, we were the first company to ship Smart Fresh treated apples in the United States. From 2015 to 2021, the packing lines and pre-sizer were re-engineered to include Compaq Spectrim technology, which uses custom-programmed infrared technology to detect fruit defects,” Ben told me. “The most recent innovation is the use of robots for automation in pre-sizing and packing. This has been a paramount development, allowing for speed, accuracy, and employee empowerment to learn new technology and equipment.”
Today, 110 years later, Arthur Rice’s great-grandson and fourth-generation family member, Ben Rice, has been entrusted with maintaining the storied legacy of the family business. Rice Fruit has a mission to assure consumers that every piece of fruit is grown with care, dedication, and attention to detail.
Quality and integrity are at the heart of its core values, but so is the commitment that there is always an opportunity for improvement.
“We are dedicated to finding the newest flavor profiles for the consumer, ensuring a consistently good eating experience—every apple, every bite, every time,” shared Ben.
Rice Fruit Company is focused on delivering fruit at the height of freshness.
“Our proximity to buyer customers also ensures a reduced carbon footprint, moving our sweet-natured fruit sustainably to market, preserving the freshness of the fruit, and our heritage of delivering quality and consistency to our customers with each and every apple,” said Ben.
As a pillar of leadership in the local community, Rice Fruit Company is an example of a company that is committed to local agriculture, as well as the responsibilities that go with it. In its steadfast pledge to economic, environmental, and social sustainability, Rice Fruit Company aims to continue growing and thriving in the years to come.
Congratulations to Rice Fruit on 110 years in business.