Rice Fruit Company was founded in Biglerville, Pennsylvania, in 1913 by Arthur Rice, though its origins go back much further. Daniel Rice was the first member of the Rice family to settle in Adams County in around 1790. As a farmer, Daniel recognized that the eastern ridge of the Appalachian Mountains had ideal soils and a perfect climate for growing fruit. Apples became his most important crop.
Another four generations of the Rice family grew tree fruits until Arthur built his packing house eight miles north of Gettysburg.
In 1955, his son Arthur Rice, Jr., built a new packing facility at the company’s present location at nearby Gardners. The younger Rice also formed a partnership with grower William Lott to form R & L Orchards, which grew most of the fruit packed at Rice Fruit Company. The partnership continues today.
Rice Fruit Company is now managed by Arthur, Jr.’s, four sons. David is president and in charge of plant operations and personnel. Ted (Arthur Rice III) is in charge of office operations and accounting, John is responsible for sales and marketing, and Mark is president of R & L Orchards, which farms about a thousand acres of apples, peaches, nectarines, and pears. It is the largest fresh-apple packer east of the Mississippi River.