Rice Fruit Company Announces Retirement of Lee Showalter
GARDNERS, PA - Please join me in a hearty round of applause to Lee Showalter, as he bows down from the industry. Rice Fruit Company has announced the retirement of Showalter, a long-time produce advocate, fruit grower, and the company’s Grower Service Manager.
“I'm retiring from Rice Fruit Co. as of the end of December 2023,” Showalter commented on his LinkedIn profile. “I have enjoyed a career that has spanned 54 fruit crop seasons. It has been a privilege to have worked for the Rice family.”
Showalter has been a pivotal member of the Rice Fruit team for over 13 years, with an unwavering passion for the apple industry. He worked tirelessly operating his farm and managing his storage and packing operations until he joined Rice Fruit Company in 2010. With an arsenal of orchard experience under his belt, Showalter began his next chapter in Food Safety when programs were in their infancy.
According to the release, Showalter established himself as the bridge to all apple communities near and far. In 1969, the Showalter Family purchased Five Forks Orchards in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Lee Showalter had just graduated from Pennsylvania State with a degree in AG Business Management, which was the beginning of his career in agriculture. Five Forks specialized in growing apples, fresh stonefruit, and even tomatoes and spinach for processing.
As the business grew and evolved, the orchards transitioned to fresh market apples. Showalter’s expertise in fruit was honed and perfected. His dedication and passion were evident as he became an integral part of the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program for 15 years, in addition to serving on the SHAP research committee and as a Director on the boards of Knouse Foods Cooperative and the USApple Association.
The company noted he has become the go-to person for aiding many other growers in establishing their own food safety programs and embracing his role as a grower liaison and peer mentor. In 2015, he was named Apple Person of the Year. His unwavering dedication to educating and counseling his colleagues has been a gift to the apple industry. He is proof that any time spent in an orchard is time well spent, the company commented.
From everyone at Rice Fruit Company, the ANUK team, and beyond, we would like to express our sincerest thanks to Lee Showalter for his dedication to the apple industry and wish him the very best in his next adventures.