Frieda's Specialty Produce - Specialty Fruits

New Fruits for the New Year

It’s an auspicious week. At sundown on Wednesday, September 20, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, will begin. The celebration of the Jewish New Year is observed for 10 days and will culminate with the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, starting at sundown on Friday, September 29, and ending the next day. Right in the middle is the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere on September 22. That is the day that the daylight and night hours are virtually equal. Several traditions surround the Jewish New Year. One of my favorites is the tradition to try a new fruit in the new year. That tradition is never more evident than in New York and Los Angeles, where large neighborhoods of Jewish consumers clamor to buy the weirdest and most unusual Continue Reading

Ooo-la-la!

Have you ever met someone (in business) who was just so nice that you wanted to work with them? Well, that’s how we got into the “ready-to-eat” crepe business. You know, those delicate, very thin, slightly sweet “pancakes” that are just perfect with sliced strawberries and fresh whipped cream? (Yum, I’m getting hungry just writing those words.) Well, back in 1986, this French guy, Herve LeBayon was introduced to us by another supplier. Herve (pronounced “air-vay”) was from Brittany, France, and moved to the United States because he wanted to … Continue reading

Living Life

My mother Frieda Caplan with my uncle Paul Steffen and cousin Michael Silver “What a big, big life he had. And how he loved life, loved living, loved people. Never have I seen anyone come close to his excitement about being alive.” This is what was written about my Uncle Paul. My “Crazy Uncle Paul” (as we lovingly referred to him) passed away this week at the ripe age of 88. My mother’s brother has lived in Rome, Italy, since the 1960s. Over the years, many of us in our … Continue reading

The Horseradish Holiday

I jokingly refer to the Jewish holiday of Passover as the “horseradish holiday.” (As a wholesale distributor of fresh produce, it has always been an easy way to inform our retail clients that this is the time of year to stock up on this knobby root.) That is, of course, because horseradish is one of the symbolic “bitter herbs” served as part of the traditional Passover Seder dinner. This year, the first night of Passover starts at sundown on Monday, March 29, and Jews all over the world will be … Continue reading

Asparagus for Spring

Last week, someone asked me why so many people eat fresh asparagus for Easter. That made me think… Is it because asparagus is a spring vegetable, and Easter usually comes in early spring? Is it because it’s a ritual food, related to the Last Supper (the original Passover/Easter dinner)? Is it because supermarkets always seem to advertise and promote it at Easter, which makes consumers buy it? Interestingly, asparagus has a long history that goes back to the third century. Its popularity is probably due to its delicate flavor and … Continue reading