Farmers: Thomas and Jeanette Rice
Rice River Ranch is a 15 acre family orchard solely owned and operated by Thomas and Jeanette Rice. We are located in Arboga in Yuba County CA, just south of Marysville, near the Feather River on some of the richest farmland in the state. Only clean air and warm sunshine ripen our fruit.
Only sustainable and carefully measured and monitored approaches and materials are used. We live on the land and drink from the wells, so we will only do what is best for all of us and for the land, air, and water. We sell only fresh, selectively hand-picked (typically within 24 hours) and naturally ripened fruit. No GMO, ever! We never use cold storage, as we want to bring only the best quality to you. You will taste the difference!
We promote and practice scientifically sound and ecologically friendly practices in our stewardship of the land. Our farm is a diverse habitat that provides food and shelter for hawks, kites, owls, coyotes, and snakes. This mix of wildlife significantly reduces the need for artificial means of insect and rodent control. All agricultural plastics are properly recycled. No pre-emergent herbicides or other long effect chemicals are ever used. We converted our agricultural irrigation electrical usage to a 100% solar electrical system.
To preserve the soil, conserve energy, save water, and eliminate runoff, we use micro-sprinkler irrigation exclusively. This approach requires a special sprinkler head per tree (about 2300) along with one mile of underground pipe and 8 miles of hoses. This system is constantly checked and soil moisture is regularly probed not just to maintain tree health but also to avoid erosion and sediment runoff.
Fertilizers and Amendments
Nitrogen and Potassium are added only as they are consumed, and only in ways that maximize absorption and avoid any runoff or waste. Nitrogen-fixing cover crops protect the soil and conserve nutrients. We never use unprocessed fertilizers, which release greenhouse gases. To further preserve and protect the precious soil, we avoid tillage to minimize erosion and weed germination, and tree prunings are mulched back into the orchard.
Chemicals take time and money, neither of which a farmer can stand to waste. But not using them when needed ruins orchards. By diligently searching for safer formulations, participating in continued training and education, and meeting all recording and reporting requirements, we ensure that our practices are safe, sound, and effective … and driven by rational consideration, not catering to a marketing whim or fancy of the moment.
Sustainability is not just about proper agricultural practices and environmental responsibility. It’s also about how we treat our staff and any hired labor. Our ideal is a permanent staff that will be positioned to take over the farm when it’s time for the next generation. While we prepare for that ideal, we always treat our people with respect and pay a living wage or better. We offer opportunities for training and advancement for interested workers.produ