Frieda's Specialty Produce - Janet Helm - US News & World Report

Janet Helm, MS, RDN, registered dietitian/nutritionist and author, wrote about our “Eat One Fruit a Day the Scares You” campaign in her recent post on the US News & World Report “Eat + Run” blog.

In “Get Over Your Fear of Fruit With These 10 Exotic Choices,” Janet encourages people to be brave and eat more fruit: “We shouldn’t fear fruit. We should look for ways to add more fruit to our plate – and not just in our glass.”

Add color to your artichoke display with red Sangria and purple Fiore Viola artichokes

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Fiore Viola and Sangria Artichokes

LOS ALAMITOS, CA (February 2015) – With artichoke season just around the corner, give shoppers and diners something unexpected: red and purple artichokes like the Sangria and Fiore Viola Artichokes.

Sangria Artichokes have an attractive, flower-like shape with a deep burgundy color; Fiore Viola Artichokes are beautiful purple globes. They’re perfect to add color breaks to your all-green artichoke display.

Exclusively available from Frieda’s Specialty Produce, these specialty artichokes are carefully bred and grown in Lompoc, California, to offer superior flavor and rich, meaty leaves. Not only are these artichokes beautiful, they all have unique flavor profiles. Shoppers’ favorite Sangria variety has meaty leaves with a nutty, earthy flavor. The Fiore Viola variety is heavy for its size, packed with meaty leaves and a nutty, sweet artichoke flavor. These artichokes provide folate and fiber, and are good sources of vitamin C.

The other favorite artichoke variety, the Fiesole (fee-eh-so-lay) Baby Purple Artichoke, is expected to be available later in March. The deep-purple little buds have no chokes and are nutty and sweet with a strong artichoke flavor. They are also available in convenient 1-pound bags.

About Frieda’s

With over 50 years of fresh produce innovation, Frieda’s Specialty Produce continues to change the way America eats fruits and vegetables. Founded in 1962 by Frieda Caplan, Frieda’s was the first wholesale produce company in the U.S. to be founded, owned, and operated by a woman, and is still a family- and women-owned business today. Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 specialty items to U.S. produce departments, including Kiwifruit, Spaghetti Squash, Habanero Peppers, Sunchokes®, Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes, Sangria and Fiore Viola Artichokes, and many more. Frieda’s featured program is “Eat One Fruit a Day That Scares You,” which encourages everyone to #FearNoFruit. Connect with Frieda’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and at Friedas.com.

 

 

I really don’t have time to read magazines at home. Honestly, I have tried reading them when I crawl into bed at night, and it’s like taking a sleeping pill. Read a paragraph. Instantly fall asleep.

But there is one magazine I like to get at home: Prevention Magazine, published by Rodale Inc., which also publishes other health and wellness magazines like Women’s Health. So, when a postcard came in the mail reminding me my subscription had lapsed, I immediately signed up for another two years.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - What' on Karen's Plate? - Prevention Magazine

As you can see, it is small, approximately 5-by-7 inches, but it is packed with interesting articles on health, food, and fitness, plus human interest stories. Last week, the February issue came. Because it is only 130 small pages, I was able to get through it in a few evenings.

Last night, one article in particular caught my eye: “The Natural Superbug Cure No One Is Telling You About.” The article talks about MRSA—Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureusinfection, caused by a strain of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used. I think we’ve all heard about MRSA and how scary it is. It is also one of the reasons I rarely if ever let a doctor prescribe an antibiotic for me when I can get well by resting and using natural herbs, etc.

The article talks about Laura Roberts who had been ill for seven years with what started as a sinus infection and nearly ended up in death. While watching TV, she learned about bacteriophage therapy and then found the Phage Therapy Center in Tbilisi, Georgia, in Eastern Europe.

Bacteriophages or phages, also known as bacteria eaters, are viruses that infect bacteria but not humans. I found it incredibly exciting to learn that alternative treatments for bacterial infections are being developed in other parts of the world.

In a time when people use hand sanitizer as a preventative for getting ill (when in fact it would be causing you to be less resistant to fighting infections, colds, and viruses), and when drug companies advertise on television, on billboards, and in magazines suggesting we ask our doctors to prescribe medicines for us, it’s good to know that researchers are working on more natural options to fight illness.

Of course, in my business, we know that eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, filled with nutrients and fiber, not to mention flavor, can help build healthier bodies. I wonder how long it will be before a doctor writes out a prescription for “at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day, and see me in 3 months.” But then I found out a produce prescription is a reality in New York City. The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program provides low-income obese or overweight children and their families with a “prescription” of redeemable vouchers to use for produce at participating retailers or farmers markets after a consultation with a doctor and nutritionist.

But, sometimes, our bodies can only do so much and we need medicines prescribed by a doctor or practitioner and plenty of rest. A perfect time to curl up with a few more magazines, I’d say.

Stay healthy!

Karen

Frieda’s offers healthy and flavorful suggestions for shoppers and diners during Lent

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Purple Snow Peas

LOS ALAMITOS, CA (February 2015) – Many shoppers and diners use Lent observance to kick-start a new, healthier lifestyle. During the 40 days of penance—starting on Ash Wednesday, February 18, and continuing through Thursday, April 2—they will look to their supermarkets and restaurants to help them stick to their commitment to give up meat, junk food, and sugary treats.

For the produce department to make the most of this observance, Frieda’s Specialty Produce recommends the following:

Beefing Up on Plant-based Protein: Meat is one of the first items observers of Lent give up. As vegetarians and vegans shop in produce departments for their protein, stock up on a selection of meat alternatives like Tofu and Soyrizo™, ready-to-eat Organic Polenta, and soy-based meat substitute products like Yves and Lightlife. Also call attention to protein-rich vegetables such as Colored Cauliflower, Edamame, Sunchokes®, and Artichokes, and hearty and satisfying root vegetables like Celery Root, Baby Carrots, and Malanga Lila.

Satisfying the Sweet Tooth: Shoppers will turn to fresh fruits to curb their cravings for the soft drinks and other sugary treats they have given up for Lent. It’s the perfect time to introduce shoppers to unique and flavorful tropical fruits like Passion Fruits, Zululand Queen Baby Pineapples, and Dragon Fruits. Young Coconut and juicy citrus like Blood Oranges and Cara Cara Oranges are also perfect to offer as a soft drink substitute.

Offering Healthy Snack Options: Keep shoppers away from not-so-healthy snacks like potato chips with crisp and crunchy, easy and fun-to-eat, exciting fresh produce like Baby Kiwifruits, Rambutans, Starfruits, Kumquats, Purple Snow Peas, Mini Sweet Peppers, and Jicama.

Interested retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice distributors can contact Frieda’s for promotional ideas, a product list, and marketing tools. Also available from Frieda’s are extensive product information, high resolution images, and a recipe database to assist with any marketing needs.

About Frieda’s

With over 50 years of fresh produce innovation, Frieda’s Specialty Produce continues to change the way America eats fruits and vegetables. Founded in 1962 by Frieda Caplan, Frieda’s was the first wholesale produce company in the U.S. to be founded, owned, and operated by a woman, and is still a family- and women-owned business today. Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 specialty items to U.S. produce departments, including Kiwifruit, Spaghetti Squash, Habanero Peppers, Sunchokes®, Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes, Sangria and Fiore Viola Artichokes, and many more. Frieda’s featured program is “Eat One Fruit a Day That Scares You,” which encourages everyone to #FearNoFruit. Connect with Frieda’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and at Friedas.com.

I actually saw that quote in a video on excellence that a local real estate company sent me today.

The reason the quote caught my eye is it made me think of some recent experiences I have had with customer service (like Zappos). I would say the vast majority of companies offer “good service.” They have been trained in “good-service speak.” You know what I mean—they say all the right words, but their hearts are not really in it.

To me, it’s the heart that makes great service—when someone sincerely goes the extra mile or when a company or organization empowers its employees to make the customer truly happy no matter what.

One of my coworkers dropped me a note last week that reminded me of the joy of experiencing great service:

“I recently called the Almay consumer line—I NEVER do this kind of thing…But I had just bought some makeup and I wasn’t happy with it…and I hate returning things at stores. (It’s really a pain with kids!) I was hoping they would do what we do here at Frieda’s—and they did! Full refund voucher—no real questions asked (just logistical details and code date stuff).”

I hope that we all have a similar story to tell about a great customer service experience we’ve had. You know, when you were sincerely surprised and delighted with how something was handled. Of course, one of the best known companies these days is Zappos and founder Tony Hsieh’s philosophy of total satisfaction.

But the real question is this: Have you ever gone the extra mile for your customer? Have you thought about how you could give excellent customer service, so much so, that your client, or your supplier, or your friend or family would never leave you?

I think the key to anyone going the extra mile is that they have to be happy, appreciated, and respected. I guess you could call that the key to great company culture.

I would love to hear about other awesome experiences of customer service. Please share yours in the comment section.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - What's on Karen's Plate? Alex going above and beyond to make a customer happy
My daughter Alex, our consumer specialist at the time, demonstrating how to go above and beyond: answering the phone from another cubicle with her hands full!

Meanwhile, when you get up tomorrow, think about how you can make it a great day for you and everyone you encounter, not just in business.

Karen

One of the ways I know it’s kumquat season is that I look out into my backyard.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - What's on Karen's Plate? - Karen's kumquat tree
Look at my tree!

When I moved into my house 12 years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had an orange and a kumquat tree in my planter, and this week my kumquat tree is completely filled with fruit. This weekend, I plan to harvest them and try my hand at making Kumquat marmalade.

Kumquats are the smallest citrus fruit and are quite unique. Unique because, unlike all other citrus fruits, you do not peel them or juice them—you just eat them whole! That’s right, you pop them in your mouth, skin and all.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Kumquats

I learned about kumquats when I first started working for my mom on the produce market after college. My mom put me right into sales. So I came in to work every day at about 4 a.m., stood outside our stall at the produce market, and waited for the produce buyers to walk by to make the sales until about 11 a.m. Then we would go down to the basement to take inventory of what was left over from the day. And then, after lunch, I would work in the office filing paperwork and answering consumer letters. Yes, those days were long—but that’s the way you learn the business!

When January rolled around, I was assigned to sell the kumquats. They came from the farm packed in 10-pound boxes. I learned quite a few things—first of all is how to eat them. The skin is sweet and the inside is tart. So, after washing them, I would pop them in my mouth and eat them whole. By knowing the product, I was able to explain it to my customers.

The second thing I learned is that even if the kumquats are a little bit green, that’s perfectly OK. They will eventually turn a darker orange, which means the skin gets sweeter.

Finally, I learned that the kumquats should not get too cold in the refrigerator as the cold causes chill damage, and the outside skin can get kind of translucent. And that’s one of the reasons that we decided to repack those 10-pound boxes into 8-ounce consumer packages. Our first package was a green mesh bag with a recipe card and information stapled to the top.

Believe it or not, there are a few commercially available varieties of kumquats. You can tell most of them apart by their shape. Check out these pictures and see if you can tell what variety kumquat you buy next time at the store! (Photo credits: UC Riverside Citrus Variety Collection.)

The most common variety is the Nagami Kumquat—that oval-shaped bright orange fruit you know and love with thick, sweet rind and juicy, sweet-tart pulp. This variety is about 90 percent of the entire crop.

UC Riverside - Nagami Kumquats
Nagami Kumquats.

The next variety is the Nordmann Seedless Kumquats. The teardrop-shaped fruits have thick, sweet rind with juicy pulp.

UC Riverside - Nordman Kumquats
Nordman Kumquats

Then there are the Meiwa Kumquats. The large, slightly oval fruits have very thick, smooth, sweet rinds with just a little bit of pulp.

UC Riverside - Meiwa Kumquats
Meiwa Kumquats.

Grown in limited quantities are the Marumi Kumquats, which are small and round with thick, medium-sweet rind and moderately juicy pulp.

UC Riverside - Marumi Kumquats
Marumi Kumquats

And finally, the Hong Kong Kumquats are grown ornamentally. The small fruits have large seeds which pretty much make them inedible.

UC Riverside - Hong Kong Kumquats
Hong Kong Kumquats

With Chinese New Year right around the corner, starting on February 18, you may find kumquats prominently displayed in your produce department. The kumquat tree in Cantonese is called Gam Gat Sue. The word Gam rhymes with the Cantonese word for gold and Gat rhymes with luck. In Mandarin, kumquat is called Jin Jiu, which means “golden orange.” For these reasons, kumquats are deemed auspicious for Chinese New Year, symbolizing wealth and prosperity, and presented as gifts.

I hope that you’ll give these little citrus fruits a try!

Karen

Ring in a prosperous Year of the Sheep with Asian specialties to boost sales during the 15-day celebration

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Chinese New Year 2015 - Year of the Sheep

LOS ALAMITOS, CA (January 2015) – Authentic Asian flavors are among the top food trends of 2015, and there’s no better time to introduce Asian specialties to shoppers and diners than during the Chinese New Year celebration.

One of the biggest food holidays of the year, Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) begins on February 19 and ends on March 5. During this 15-day celebration to welcome the Year of the Sheep—a year of friendship and creativity—families and friends will gather over special feasts with foods that symbolize good tidings and blessings for the coming year.

“Eastern and Southeastern Asian cuisines are vegetable-centric with bold flavors, and that resonates with shoppers and diners who are seeking authenticity as well as healthy food choices,” said Karen Caplan, President and CEO of Frieda’s Specialty Produce.

A leader in the specialty Asian produce category since 1973, Frieda’s is working with many clients to build festive in-store promotions during the first weeks of February. In addition to educational resources for produce staff, Frieda’s provides key merchandising recommendations, as well as artwork for Chinese New Year POS signage. Interested retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice distributors can contact Frieda’s for promotional ideas, a product list, and marketing tools. Also available from Frieda’s are extensive product information, high resolution images, and a recipe database to assist with any marketing needs.

About Frieda’s

With over 50 years of fresh produce innovation, Frieda’s Specialty Produce continues to change the way America eats fruits and vegetables. Founded in 1962 by Frieda Caplan, Frieda’s was the first wholesale produce company in the U.S. to be founded, owned, and operated by a woman, and is still a family- and women-owned business today. Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 specialty items to U.S. produce departments, including Kiwifruit, Spaghetti Squash, Habanero Peppers, Sunchokes®, Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes, Sangria and Fiore Viola Artichokes, and many more. Frieda’s featured program is “Eat One Fruit a Day That Scares You,” which encourages everyone to #FearNoFruit. Connect with Frieda’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and at Friedas.com.