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

Visiting the Space Shuttle Endeavour

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the California Science Center in downtown Los Angeles. I remember taking field trips in grade school to the (then named) California Museum of Science and History. Although my memory of the museum had changed, things were still very much the same. When I recently visited, I was with a small group of prominent women, who were given a behind the scenes tour of Space Shuttle Endeavour, which ended its service in May 2011. You can read about how the Endeavour was … Continue reading

My favorite spring vegetable: The Artichoke

One of my favorite spring vegetables is the artichoke—which was recently dubbed the state vegetable of California! If I go to a restaurant that has freshly prepared artichokes as an appetizer, I cannot resist ordering one. I especially like the large green artichokes steamed. Dipping the leaves in a little butter or mayonnaise makes it extra delicious. Yum! So, when I was walking by our test kitchen earlier this week, and overheard our marketing team buzzing about a BABY artichoke recipe, I had to try it. Have you ever seen … Continue reading

Is there a worldwide helium shortage?

Earlier this week, I attended a produce trade show called the Northern California Fresh Produce and Floral Council Expo. There were over 150 booths, representing vendor companies from all over the world, and supermarket retailers, food service distributors and produce managers walking the show. About 60% of the booths represented fresh fruits and vegetables, and 40% were filled with flowers, plants and floral accessories. As I walked the show, I stopped at a booth for Mayflower Distributing, which was filled with balloons, a big business for floral departments of supermarkets. … Continue reading

Commend your Produce Manager!

Two years ago, our marketing team was brainstorming promotions, and we kept coming back to the story of how my mom introduced the Kiwifruit to America in 1962. The way she tells it, is that a consumer went into a Salt Lake City supermarket, asking for a fruit she had while traveling in New Zealand. It was called the “Chinese Gooseberry,” and she wanted to buy some at her local store. The produce manager didn’t know what it was, but he called the produce buyer of his company, who was … Continue reading