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

Birthday cards and paying it forward

With the popularity of email, texting, Facebook and electronic greeting cards, you would think that the greeting card industry would be suffering. And with the hectic schedules we all have, who has time to go buy a greeting card? Well, I think the greeting card industry will continue to boom and here’s why: Deep down inside, people care about their friends, and for less than $5, you can make someone important in your life feel special and loved. And it can make you feel good, too! I saw this happen … Continue reading

Blueberries can be frustrating

I am addicted to fresh blueberries. Occasionally, I drive from store to store in search of fresh, plump, sweet berries, and sometimes I eat a whole 4-ounce container at one sitting. They make a great mid-morning snack! But lately there haven’t been good tasting berries in my stores, and I wanted to know why. So, I called my longtime business friend, Chris Martin (pictured here on the left with his brother Paul Martin). Chris is originally from New Zealand, but moved to the states more than 20 years ago and … Continue reading

Being best in show

I spent this past weekend in Orlando, Fla., attending the annual Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit Convention and Expo. I have been attending this annual produce industry expo since 1974 when I was a sophomore in college, and this year was Frieda’s 37th consecutive year of exhibiting. Planning for PMA is a year-long process for us. Right after one show ends, our team huddles for a “did well, do better” session where we document all the comments and make adjustments accordingly in preparation for the following year’s show. For … Continue reading

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

My daughter Alex did an internship this summer in Sydney, Australia. My good friend Michael Simonetta owns a wholesale produce company there and offered to employ Alex for six weeks. She had a great time and learned a lot while working there. A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to travel to Sydney for a business meeting. So I asked Alex, “Is there any special tourist thing that I should do while I am there?” “You MUST do the Harbour Bridge Climb!” I have to admit when I … Continue reading