Every summer, we bring our entire sales, marketing, and buying teams together for a three-day meeting to talk about trends, do training, and of course conduct some team building. This past summer during one of our sessions, the subject of one of our hottest, trendiest items, jackfruit, came up. It’s actually known as the largest fruit in the world—one fruit can grow to be 100 pounds! (Most of what we sell are 10 to 20 pounds each.) Because they are so big, they are quite challenging to cut and serve.

Our entire group talked about the challenge of this enormous fruit; it yields so much edible fruit that it is often too much for one household. It’s really a fruit for sharing. And because of the time and effort required to open it up, remove the pulp, and extract the pods, it’s a lot more fun to get a group together to “process” the fruit and then send people home with their own bag of fresh and ready-to-eat jackfruit pods.

So we came up with the idea of having a “Jackfruit Party.” It was our way of making it fun to conquer a jackfruit.

If you’ve never seen how to open a jackfruit, watch this:

[youtube=https://youtu.be/CtlDOM3rfiY]

We knew from our own experience that jackfruit was definitely a trending fruit, and I wrote about it as a meat substitute in a past blog. Then a couple of months ago, the Wall Street Journal dubbed jackfruit one of the next hot trends in food.

Around the same time, the Wall Street Journal also published a story about the market for weird fruits during the Jewish New Year, also known as Rosh Hashanah. It is a tradition to eat new fruits for the new year. Many supermarkets often stock up on all the unusual tropical fruits during this time. Along with their story, WSJ showed a video of a New York City specialty market with huge tropical fruit displays that included giant jackfruits, selling for $79.99 each!

[youtube=https://youtu.be/IkRmJHTOVsI]

When I saw the video, I realized how scary the fruit looked, and at that $80 price tag, who would buy it? So that inspired me to challenge my team to figure out a way to begin labeling our jackfruit with information that shows shoppers what to do with this crazy fruit. If you are going to spend that kind of money on a tropical fruit, you want to know how to prepare it so you have the best possible experience!

And so, our jackfruit label was born just a couple of months ago.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Jackfruit

So if you see a ginormous jackfruit in your store (or possibly a half or quartered one), take that bold step and buy it—then have your own jackfruit party.

We are always looking for new ways to educate shoppers on the weird and wonderful exotic produce of the world. What tropical fruit would you be more willing to try if it had an informational label?

Karen

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Jackfruit

The company welcomes Director of Procurement and Sourcing

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Allen DeMo

LOS ALAMITOS, CA (November 2016) — Frieda’s Specialty Produce proudly adds Allen DeMo to its roster as Director of Procurement and Sourcing.

“We are excited to welcome Allen to the Frieda’s family,” said Karen Caplan, President and CEO of Frieda’s. “He will direct our buying and grower development team, nurturing our relationships with suppliers and growers around the world.”

DeMo has more than 25 years of experience in the produce industry, having had leadership roles at Green Thumb Produce, DiMare Fresh, Ready Pac Specialties and most recently DLJ Distributing. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Fresh Produce and Floral Council.

DeMo can be reached at allen.demo [at] friedas.com starting December 1, 2016.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce celebrates a 54-year legacy of inspiring new food experiences for friends, family, and food lovers everywhere. Credited with introducing more than 200 specialty fruits and vegetables to U.S. supermarkets, Frieda’s has helped launch unique items like kiwi fruits, Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, habanero peppers, Sunchokes®, and organic finger limes. Founded in 1962 by produce industry icon Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is now owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

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Let me start by saying that I host my family for both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah dinners. We usually have about 25 people at each celebration. Fortunately, my kids are at the ages (27 and 22) that they both help prepare the meal. It is a happy time of year for me because I get to entertain in my home and have my closest family members and a few friends near me. If I need help cooking, I ask for help, or ask people to bring along their favorite dish.

But I’ve learned that not everyone feels this way. For some people, the holidays (which encompass that five-week period from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day) are not a time they look forward to.

I suspect that it may have something to do with bad memories. You know, the holiday meal or family gathering where everything did not go perfectly. People argued. They were in bad moods. Something went wrong or not as planned. You didn’t get the gift you expected. Someone didn’t like the gift you got them. Maybe a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse acted up or broke up with you. Or your parents did something embarrassing. The list could go on and on.

So, when I read the following quote on my Instagram feed a few days ago, I thought about how to inspire more people to enjoy the holidays, in whichever form they come:

pastpresentfuture

How many of us lose the fun of the moment because we are worried about something that happened in the past? We are literally superstitious that history will repeat itself.

I just can’t live that way. Like each of you, I’ve had a few bad experiences in my life. Some of them around the end-of-the-year holidays.

But not that long ago, I decided I was committed to making new memories. I wasn’t going to filter my current or upcoming experiences with my paradigms of the past.

Would you be willing to try this too? If there is something you are dreading about the upcoming Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or seasonal time of year, would you be willing to wipe the slate clean and say, “I’m going to have a fantastic, happy, and enjoyable holiday with the people I love and who love me.

Good – I knew you could you do it!

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving week!

Karen

Wow your friends and family with these unique and delicious holiday potluck dishes

Having friends over for Thanksgiving dinner instead of visiting family for the holiday is not a new idea. “Friendsgiving” is a usually potluck dinner with friends (aka “the family you choose”) which could be in addition to or instead of the traditional Thanksgiving feast with family.

That Thanksgiving potluck your office is having? That’s technically is a Friendsgiving too!

In the sea of sameness of traditional holiday dishes, why not bring a creative and adventurous dish so you’ll be remembered?

And because you’ll be using fresh ingredients that are bit off the beaten path, you won’t have to fight anyone at the grocery store for that last Russet potato or orange sweet potato.

We’ve gathered some great recipes for you here. You’re welcome. #GobbleGobble

Honey Roasted Cipolline

Frieda's Specialty Produce Honey Roasted Cipolline Onions
Honey Roasted Cipolline Onions

Sweet and savory, and looks impressive. Nothing at all like your grandma’s creamed onion! Recipe here.

Celery Root and Cauliflower Puree

[youtube=https://youtu.be/cwZO5-bSYAg]

Set those paleo, gluten-free, and/or low carb friends at ease with this delicious “mash.” Recipe here.

Heirloom Tomato Pudding

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Heirloom Tomato Bread Pudding
Heirloom Tomato Bread Pudding

A cross of stuffing and a pasta dish. Flavorful and definitely a showstopper. Recipe here.

Whole Roasted Purple Cauliflower

[youtube=https://youtu.be/F4Db2i_GJ4Q]

Actually pretty easy to make. You just need a little time! Recipe here.

Pear and Ginger Pie with Struesel Topping

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Pear and Ginger Pie with Strusel Topping

Warm your heart and soul with this fragrant and a little spicy departure from the usual apple pie. Recipe here.

Purple Sweet Potato Pie

Frieda's Specialty Produce Stokes Purple Sweet Potato Pie
Stokes Purple Sweet Potato Pie

Turn the whole season upside down by adding a purple pie to the table! Recipe here.

Shoppers look for ‘wow factor’ produce and special treats for the holidays

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Root vegetable display

LOS ALAMITOS, CA (November 2016) — Retailers can maximize the season’s produce sales by stocking up on trending holiday items like gourmet and specialty produce, artfully merchandised alongside proven staples. Shoppers want to impress their guests with “wow” items during the holidays, and they look to the produce department for fresh inspiration.

“Holiday shoppers are not just Boomers buying potatoes and green beans. Adventurous Millennials are shopping for their ‘Friendsgiving’ and holiday parties, as well,” said Karen Caplan, president and CEO of Frieda’s Specialty Produce. “They’re seeking the season’s hottest food and flavor trends, and retailers who offer a wide variety of produce specialties are positioned for greater overall basket rings.”

A recent NPD Group study reveals that Millennials and Gen Zs are driving the growth in fresh vegetable consumption. With the cultural shift to flexitarian and plant-focused eating, vegetables are set to be the star of Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving tables this year.

Here are a few trends showing up on shoppers’ holiday tables:

Veg-centric Dishes

The root-to-stem trend is in full swing with whole roasted rainbow carrots, parsnips, and baby beets, plus sautéed greens on the side.

The New Classics

Holiday traditions get a modern twist for today’s healthier eaters, such as roasted pearl onions and cipolline onions instead of great-grandma’s creamed onion dish. Mashed potatoes get one-upped by celery root and cauliflower purée or roasted Sunchokes®. Fruit pies get a flavor upgrade with specialties like Green Dragon apples, quince, and fresh ginger.

Colorful Feast

The orange and brown autumn palette is getting a pop of color with vibrant veggies like whole roasted purple cauliflower, spring-green romanesco, mashed Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, and magenta slices of watermelon radish on crudité platters.

Make produce the hero of your holiday shopping baskets by calling a Frieda’s account manager today.

Get recipes

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce celebrates a 54-year legacy of inspiring new food experiences for friends, family, and food lovers everywhere. Credited with introducing more than 200 specialty fruits and vegetables to U.S. supermarkets, Frieda’s has helped launch unique items like kiwi fruits, Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, habanero peppers, Sunchokes®, and organic finger limes. Founded in 1962 by produce industry icon Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is now owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

Trending purple tubers add color break and draw attention to potato display

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Purple is the New Orange

LOS ALAMITOS, CA (November 2016) — Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes are having their day in the sun with foodies and trendsetters. From oatmeal add-ins to replacing bread for “toast,” savvy shoppers are looking for more than just orange sweet potatoes to add nutritional value and color to their meals. Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, exclusively available from Frieda’s Specialty Produce, are the tubers they are looking for.

“This year’s shipments are up significantly from last year at this time, and we’re not even into the holiday season yet. That’s how strong the demand has been for these California-grown purple sweet potatoes,” said Karen Caplan, president and CEO of Frieda’s.

In general, sweet potatoes have come a long way from the marshmallow-topped holiday side dish. Their nutrient-dense nature makes them a hit with fitness enthusiasts and healthy eaters everywhere—as an energy and nutrition booster for oatmeal, smoothies, and even in baked goods and holiday treats. Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes give shoppers the color variety and vitamin C boost they crave.

“We’ve seen a considerable increase in website traffic and shoppers contacting us to find purple sweet potatoes over this past year,” added Caplan. “Shoppers, especially Millennials, are discovering these special tubers through social media like Instagram, where the vibrant purple hue makes for beautiful food photography, attracting more shoppers.”

The holidays are peak season for sweet potatoes, and Frieda’s recommends that retailers and wholesalers add some color and variety to their offerings. Purple inside and out, Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes stand out in the sea of brown and orange in any potato display, providing a much needed color break to draw in curious shoppers.

Talk to a Frieda’s account manager about these terrific tubers, as well as other popular holiday roots like Sunchokes®, celery root, and parsnips.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce celebrates a 54-year legacy of inspiring new food experiences for friends, family, and food lovers everywhere. Credited with introducing more than 200 specialty fruits and vegetables to U.S. supermarkets, Frieda’s has helped launch unique items like kiwi fruits, Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, habanero peppers, Sunchokes®, and organic finger limes. Founded in 1962 by produce industry icon Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is now owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

Don’t eat a jackfruit alone–call your friends and host a jackfruit party

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Jackfruit

So, you’ve always wanted to try fresh jackfruit, and your local supermarket finally stocks them. Upon seeing the fruit in real life, the sheer size of it scares you—weighing in anywhere from 10 to 20 lbs. What are you going to do with all that fruit?

You call your friends and family over for a jackfruit party, that’s what you’re going to do.

The jackfruit is truly a community fruit, a fruit worth sharing. The largest tree fruit in the world, jackfruit could grow to be 100 pounds. In Asia, the bounty of the fruit is usually shared among friends and family members. Seriously, fruits from one tree could feed a village!

Here in the U.S., you can still call up your “village” and share the jackfruit experience. Set up a jackfruit station where you can show your friends how to cut into the jackfruit. Hand everyone a quarter of the fruit, then have each person divvy up the sweet yellow pods so everyone can take some home. (The seeds are also edible once cooked.)

You can even build a luau or tiki party around a jackfruit. Forget the pig roast. Haul in a 20-pound jackfruit and use that as the showpiece! Make vegan Hawaiian kalua “pork” with jackfruit for dinner and serve up the fresh cut jackfruit for dessert.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Jackfruit Luau

If you can’t get a party together, lucky for you, jackfruit pods are also great for freezing. Lay those yellow pods on a baking sheet, freeze whole, then put them in zip-top bags for storage. You can even refrigerate a whole slice of jackfruit—skin and all—to process later too if you can’t do it all at once.

For fresh jackfruit pods, choose fruit that is fragrant with a golden brown skin that yields to pressure. Softer fruit means it’ll be easier to process, and the pods will be fragrant and  sweet too. If you need jackfruit for cooking like pork, you would want an under-ripe, green and firm fruit.

Watch this video below and follow our handy guide to processing jackfruit like a pro. You’ll master this giant fruit in no time.

[youtube=https://youtu.be/GCxBQCYrDH4]

To open a jackfruit, you will need:

Spray cooking spray or brush vegetable oil onto the knife to prevent sticking. Wipe down and re-oil the knife often so you don’t get stuck with all the sap at the end.

Quarter the fruit by first cutting crosswise, then lengthwise into quarters.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - How to open a jackfruit

Frieda's Specialty Produce - How to open a jackfruit

Cut out the core from each piece. You should be able to get to the pods more easily now.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - How to open a jackfruit

Using your hands or a paring knife, extract the yellow pods from the filaments and remove the seed from each pod. Reserve seeds if using, or discard.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - How to open a jackfruit

Frieda's Specialty Produce - How to open a jackfruit

Frieda's Specialty Produce - How to open a jackfruit

Rinse the pods in water, and they’re ready to eat. Pods can be wrapped/covered and refrigerated overnight or frozen whole. Wrap any uncut chunk(s) of the fruit in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.

If the jackfruit leaves behind any gooey, sticky sap, clean up by rubbing the spots with cooking oil, and then hit it again with soap and water.

Have fun at your party!

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