This is how you pronounce Turmeric: TWO-mer-ick. And if you’re wondering what I’m talking about, here’s a picture:

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Turmeric

To me, turmeric looks like a cross between a small piece of ginger root and a carrot. In fact, turmeric (Curcumic longa) is related to ginger. You may have noticed it showing up in recipes and food blogs more frequently and wondered why.

Well, in recent years, we have seen a surge in consumer interest and demand for this root.

The first reason is that Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines have gained popularity in recent years. Naturally, the key ingredients in those cuisines, like turmeric, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and yuzu, have also become better known.

In addition, turmeric has been used in Indian ayurvedic medicine for more than 2,500 years to treat joint pain, digestive and liver problems, and skin conditions. As a matter of fact, National Geographic recently published a special guide entitled, “Nature’s Best Remedies,” and devoted an entire page to this “yellow ginger.” More and more, we Westerners are finding that Asian homeopathic treatments and remedies turn out to have scientifically confirmed health benefits. But there is currently no significant government-supervised and -approved research available on turmeric.

Did you know that turmeric is the main ingredient in curry powder and mustard powder? It’s what makes those two powdered spices yellow. Besides its purported health benefits, turmeric adds a yellow-orange color and a light earthy flavor to curries, soups, and rice. You can also steep slices of turmeric in hot water to make tea. I’ve heard of people adding the grated root to their smoothies and freshly pressed juices as well.

Personally, I’ve started buying small pieces of fresh turmeric at the store to add to my soups and veggie dishes. I have yet to try it in my morning juices, but that’s next on the list!

Hopefully, you’ll now be encouraged to try turmeric. And who knows, adding the root to your meals may actually help relieve your arthritis, muscle pain, or digestive issues. You’ll just have to let me know if it works!

Enjoy!

Karen

Over 40 produce organizations and professionals joined in saluting supermarket produce staff via social media

LOS ALAMITOS, CA (April 2015) — Over 40 produce organizations and registered dietitian nutritionists joined Frieda’s Specialty Produce on social media to celebrate the national Love Your Produce Manager® Day on April 2. Using hashtag #LYPM on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, these organizations and individuals called attention to the exemplary service of men and women in supermarket produce departments.

To show appreciation for the produce industry’s participation in raising awareness of this holiday, Frieda’s made a commitment to make a donation to the “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools” program on their behalf.

“We quadrupled last year’s industry participation, going from about 10 organizations to over 40!” said Karen Caplan, President and CEO of Frieda’s. “We are exceedingly proud of our industry and grateful for the level of activity we’ve experienced this year.”

Caplan herself gave a shout-out to her local produce manager at the Ralphs in Seal Beach in a recent blog post.

As featured in Chase’s Calendar of Events since 2012, Love Your Produce Manager® Day celebrates the unsung heroes of the healthy eating revolution.

National Love Your Produce Manager® Day’s 2015 participants included:

About Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools

Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools was founded by the Chef Ann Foundation, National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, United Fresh Produce Association Foundation, and Whole Foods Market in support of first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative. The goal is for every school in the United States to have a salad bar as part of its school food service program so that every child—from elementary school to middle school to high school—has daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins.

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.

Pre-book begins now for shoppers’ favorite stone fruit

Frieda's Specialty Produce - AngelcotsLOS ALAMITOS, CA (April 2015) — Frieda’s Specialty Produce’s exclusive Angelcots®, the “heavenly white apricots,” are only available for three weeks starting in mid-June. This specialty hybrid of Moroccan and Iranian apricot varieties is grown in Northern California and packed in 16/1 lb. clamshells.

Angelcots’ pale-yellow skin—with a pale-peach blush—is covered with a fine, velvety fuzz. The beautiful fruit has the right balance of acid and sugar, along with a buttery, perfume-like sweetness. Angelcots have the juiciness of the ripest nectarine and the delicate texture and aroma of an apricot, with floral and tropical notes. Angelcots are also rich in vitamins A and C, as well as being a good source of fiber.

Interested retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice distributors can contact Frieda’s for promotional ideas, marketing tools, product information, and high resolution images 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.

Sometimes it really does feel like I have a crystal ball. For example, I gave a speech over two decades ago and predicted some future happenings in the supermarket industry, and now one of them is happening!

I’m referring to the “sudden” focus and presence of registered dietitian nutritionists, or RDNs, in supermarkets.

Back in 1994, I referred to RDNs as “consumer relations specialists.” I predicted that supermarkets would soon employ consumer relations specialists who would make sure supermarkets were focusing on the needs of their shoppers, instead of just selling food in their stores.

Fast-forward to 2015, and it seems as if almost every supermarket chain offers the services of an RDN either in individual stores or at its corporate offices. Of course with the current obesity crisis, offering nutritional counseling and recommendations for healthy choices at no charge for shoppers is a win-win.

Just a few weeks ago, a produce industry organization, the Produce for Better Health Foundation, held its annual conference. It was so exciting to see that many retailers have RDNs and to see that these young (predominantly) women have so much enthusiasm for their positions and the difference they can make.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - What's on Karen's Plate? - Registered Dietitian Nutritionists at PBH Conference 2015
Left to right: Kayla Womeldorff of Harmons Grocery Stores; Dani Lebovitz with Robins Air Force Base; Erin Dragutsky with the Transformation Center in Memphis; and Lindsey Kane of Whole Foods.

The conference provided many opportunities for people to network and chat. We learned quite a few new things by meeting with RDNs in attendance:

Nutrient-dense vs. Energy-dense

Nutrient-dense foods give you the most nutrients for the fewest calories. Fruits and vegetables are definitely nutrient-dense. On the other hand, energy-dense foods are high in calories and do not have many nutrients. The “empty calorie” foods you keep hearing about would be considered energy-dense.

Productive Spending

The concept that educated shoppers will spend their food budget on foods that address their health and wellness priorities.

Orthorexia

This was a new word for me! Orthorexia is being proposed as a new eating disorder: extreme preoccupation with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy and a fixation on food quality and purity. Orthorexia is not just being conscious about what you eat, such as going gluten-free or vegan. It’s when that consideration turns into an obsession and starts to affect your life. An example might be cancelling social events due to the fear of accidentally eating something “unhealthy.” Coincidentally, CBS news featured a story on this over the weekend as well.

Clearly, the RDNs are making an impact in supermarkets around the country. I’m not sure if they are able affect store merchandising decisions like moving candy away from the check stands to curb impulse buying, or adding more fruits and vegetables to store newspaper or online ads, but I am sure those subjects and many more are very much on their minds.

I’ve often wondered if First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal of eliminating obesity in one generation is possible. Well, with the brain power of these women, I think we have a good shot at it.

Here’s to our good health!

Karen