University of La Verne

Do College Students Need More Life Skills?

It all started on the golf course. Early last year, I attended the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. As I was wandering around the clubhouse, I ran into Mark Brian Smith, the filmmaker who produced and directed “Fear No Fruit,” the documentary about my mom and our family business. He had with him a longtime personal friend Simon, a banker. As per usual, we shook hands and exchanged business cards. So I guess I was a little surprised when six months later I received an email from Simon, who had changed banks, inviting me to be the keynote speaker at a CEO summit. As it turns out, his new bank, Union Bank, is a sponsor of the CEO Summit at the Continue Reading

A Visit to Pearl Harbor

I would imagine that most of us were not around on December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy. That was the day that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. The only reason that I know something about Pearl Harbor, is that when I took an oral interpretation class in 7th grade, I had to pick a speech and give it to the class. The speech I chose was that of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, given on December 8, 1941 to Congress. During our … Continue reading

How to Pick a Pineapple

While vacationing on Maui last week, we decided to take a day trip over to the island of Oahu. My husband Garry asked if I could get a private tour of the Dole Pineapple Plantation there, since I am a member of the produce industry. So, I emailed my longtime friend, Mike Cavallero, an executive with Dole, and he was kind enough to arrange a tour for us. (Garry read that over 1 million people visit the plantation every year and go through the biggest maze in the world.) It … Continue reading

Aloha from Maui

Being a West Coaster, Hawaii is a favorite vacation spot, and I feel very fortunate to be going there again this year! Garry and I and two other couples are going to spend a week on Maui this month. One of my favorite parts of the Hawaiian vacation is the food (no surprise there, I guess). When we arrive, I like to drive to the nearby Safeway and Star Markets in Lahaina and see how the produce looks. I always stock up on the local fresh fruits, like apple bananas, … Continue reading

Time for Fresh Figs

When I think of summertime, I can’t help but think about fresh figs. Most people think of fresh peaches or nectarines as symbols of summertime. But I was raised by the “Queen” of specialty produce, so of course summer would remind me of figs. Back in the early 1980s we were introduced to a small farmer by the name of Don Wessel. He and his family had a small fig farm near Visalia, California, and he shipped us the most beautiful yellow-greenish skinned figs – the Calmyrna variety. I remember … Continue reading