I spent my sophomore year of college at Mills, a small women’s college in Oakland, California — just across the bay from San Francisco.

Because I have kept in touch with the school, I was thrilled when I got a call a few weeks ago asking if I had time to have coffee with Alecia A. DeCoudreaux, the newly selected 13th president of the college.

We met on a Sunday afternoon at Il Fornaio, a wonderful Italian restaurant in Irvine. And the first thing she said was, “I love Frieda’s Produce. I cannot tell you how you saved my life when I made my boeuf bourguignon on Thanksgiving!”

“You must be talking about our pearl onions!”  I said to her, knowing fresh pearl onions make all the difference in the world when it comes to boeuf bourguignon.

I could tell she was impressed that I instantly knew what she was talking about, and since she lived in Ohio, I knew she bought them at a Kroger supermarket. Who would have thought that a president of a prestigious college would be interested in talking about culinary skills and recipes?

It was a great way to start the conversation.

Pearl onions are one of our staple products. We sell them to almost every retail customer and they are available year round. They actually come in three colors —red, gold and white — and each has their own slightly different flavor.

In the summertime, these fresh pearl onions are great on barbecued skewers. Try making veggie skewers with colorful bell peppers, eggplant, cherry tomatoes and pearl onions.

And if you’re in the mood for some French cooking, here’s a link to my favorite boeuf bourguignon recipe…thanks to the queen of cooking, Julia Child.

Have a great July 4th holiday!


A few weeks ago, I wrote about my weeklong vacation in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the fabulous salads I had enjoyed as my main courses.

Well, I fell in love with the Grilled Shrimp Salad I enjoyed at Blanco Tacos + Tequila, so I decided to replicate the recipe at home as more of a coleslaw.

I had taken notes while at the restaurant, including all the ingredients I tasted, and I even asked the chef what was in the vinaigrette. I’ve made it twice since my vacation and, although the chopping does take a bit of time (last time it took me 30 minutes, start to finish), it has become popular with my family and co-workers. The only thing missing from my version is the grilled shrimp, which you can easily add if you’d like.

Super-Fresh Cole Slaw
Inspired by Blanco Tacos + Tequila

The key to this recipe is having every ingredient chopped into the same ½ inch sized pieces—making it a chopped salad!

½ head green cabbage, diced (this yields about 4 cups)
½ hot house cucumber, diced (leave the skin on)
4 red radishes, diced
1 cup diced jicama
1 cup diced celery
½ cup diced green onions (only the green part)
½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Lime-Vinaigrette Dressing:
Juice of 2 limes, or ¼ cup of prepared lime juice (I use my Pampered Chef Citrus Press to get all the juice out of the limes)
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon Fleur de Sel with dried herbs (I picked this up in France a few years ago. You can make your own with Fleur de Sel and Herbes de Provence)
1 teaspoon sugar

Mix all chopped vegetables in a large bowl. For salad dressing, mix all ingredients together in a shaker jar or whisk well in a bowl. Pour vinaigrette over the chopped vegetables and toss well. The slaw will be lightly coated and not oily at all.

If you are looking for a fresh salad to serve on July 4th, try this recipe. It’s what I plan to serve!



Over 20 years ago, I got a phone call from Stewart and Lynda Resnick, who you may have heard of. They own Roll Global, which owns Paramount Citrus (marketers of Cuties®), Paramount Farms (marketer of Wonderful® Pistachios), Fiji Water® and POM Wonderful®.


They were calling to invite me to their home in Beverly Hills because they wanted to pick my brain about pomegranates. I’m guessing they called me because Frieda’s was the first to market fresh pomegranates in U.S. supermarkets nationwide.
I met Lynda when we honored her at a National Association of Women Business Owners awards luncheon a few months earlier. I was the Mistress of Ceremonies and Lynda’s introductory video malfunctioned, so we had a chance to “bond” over the mishap.
I can’t recall the exact conversation we had about pomegranates, but I do remember Stewart asking me a lot of questions. And the rest is marketing history.
A few years later, after Stewart and Lynda began producing thousands of acres of fresh pomegranates, they eventually went into bottled juice and pomegranate arils (the seeds), creating a marketing machine. I think Lynda is possibly one of the most brilliant marketers I have ever met. She wrote a book a few years ago, which I highly recommend, titled “Rubies in the Orchard.”
I have always been proud of my early conversation with Stuart and Lynda about pomegranates. Clearly, I had nothing to do with their immense success, but it sure made me feel good that they called me.
Most consumers might think that POM Wonderful® was the first to market pomegranate juice. But it really came to market back in 1968 when my mother Frieda received a phone call from John Heinke who owned a company in Paradise, California, near Sacramento. He was one of her first kiwifruit growers, and had another product he was bullish on — bottled pomegranate juice!
I recall visiting his bottling plant in Paradise while I was in college and was quite impressed. Of course, the pomegranate juice that John sold us under the “Heinke’s Juices” brand was not as sophisticated as what you see today, but it was quite popular with all the health food nuts in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
It was when Garry and I went to a small café for breakfast, while on vacation in Scottsdale, that my small world became even smaller.
As usual, I struck up a conversation with the owner of Benedict’s Café, whose name is Dawn. When I told her my mom’s name is Frieda, she said, “That’s my mom’s name!” Then she added that she grew up in Paradise, California!
Talk about a small world! When I told her about my visit to a bottling plant in Paradise, she told me John Heinke was actually her mother’s cousin! Dawn and I were grinning from ear to ear.
Dawn, of Benedict’s Cafe
I guess it pays to make conversation with strangers — even if it drives your family crazy when you do!

June is graduation season. If you don’t have a child graduating, then you probably have a relative or good friend who does. My youngest daughter, Sophia, is graduating from high school next week, so it is top of mind for me.

Last month, I spoke to an Agricultural Marketing Class full of graduating seniors at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. What was top of mind for them? Finding a job, of course.

I told those students what I always tell the young people I mentor: It does matter WHO you know, so network, network, network! Many college graduates used to be hesitant to use a family or personal connection to get an interview at a company. But today, you have a slim chance of getting a job, if all you do is email your resume.

Except for my friend Annie, that is.

Annie is 25 years old and lives in New York City. She is the Manager of Product Development and UX lead (UX stands for User Experience Design) for an organization called Thrillist Media Group.

Thrillist bills itself as, “The free, daily email that sifts through the crap to find the best new spots to eat, drink, and shop in your ‘hood.”

So, when Sophia and I were visiting colleges in New York City this April, we asked Annie to join us for lunch. I have known Annie since she was born, as her parents are family friends and her dad is my dentist. I asked how she ended up with this job in New York City after being a lifelong Southern California girl.

“I was working for an Internet-based company in Orange County, and was bored one night. On a Thursday evening, I was checking out cool things to do locally on Thrillist and, just for the heck of it, I clicked on “Careers.” OMG – I read the job description for the Product Development Manager and said to myself, ‘This is my dream job.’

So, on a fluke, I emailed them my resume. By the next afternoon, I had already done a Skype™ interview with Human Resources and they assigned me a project so they could see my work. I emailed my project, they loved it and offered me a job. I was on an airplane that Sunday and started work on Monday!”

And that’s how it worked! Annie’s story taught me a few things:

1. Assigning a project as part of the interview is a great way to really learn about a potential employee’s work capabilities. We have done this at Frieda’s for certain positions in the past, but now we do it during a majority of our interviews.

2. You don’t always have to interview in person. It’s so expensive to fly someone cross-country to interview them. Why not use Skype™?

3. The fact that a person completes their degree is the most important thing, because you won’t always find a job in a field directly related to your studies. (Annie received her degree in Neuroscience.)

For those of you who know someone who is graduating from college, tell them they will never know where their career opportunities will come from. They need to keep their eyes open at all times!

They may find this article helpful: 20 Things Every Graduating Marketing Student Needs to Know.

And as far as my graduating senior, Sophia…after our trip to New York City, she decided she wants to go there for college. I had never heard of The New School before, but she will be attending Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts.

And I guess I will just have to Skype™ with her when I want to see her!

Happy Graduation!