I’m sure I am not the only person who feels like her email inbox is being flooded daily with an overwhelming number of solicitation, informational, and junk emails, interspersed with important email communications from clients, suppliers, friends, etc.

And let’s add in there all the newsletters and media sources that feel like they need to keep us up-to-date on the latest “breaking news” multiple times a day.

For me, it’s over 200 emails a day.

Which is probably why “sort by sender” and “delete” are my two most used functions in Outlook.

Sometimes there is information I want to know about. But honestly, I don’t have time to read every single email I receive. And I just hate leaving items in my inbox, in the hope that I will go back and read them, because as my inbox continues to fill up, I ultimately, eventually delete all those “really wanted to read, but didn’t have time” emails.

Enter: Paper newsletters and magazines.

Or rather, “RE-enter.”

Remember when magazines, newspapers, and newsletters were the way we got all of our information? This was before the internet and emails, before Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. We read the daily paper newspaper from our community or region. We subscribed to magazines like Time, People, and Sunset.

And then, as the digital world expanded, the end of the paper-based news economy was predicted. There would be no newspapers and magazines would disappear.

That kind of happened for a while. But now, it seems to me that “everything old is new again.”

With the digital flooding in my inbox, I now look forward to the real paper magazines, newspapers, and newsletters I receive. I can read them at my own pace, whether on a long flight, at the nail salon, or on a leisurely Sunday morning with a cup of coffee.

And I don’t think I’m alone. In my own (produce) industry, I’ve noticed that while I continue to receive dozens of emailed breaking news items daily, it is the paper monthly magazines that get my attention the most. The glossy, color periodicals that arrive on my desk are the ones that I am able to thumb through when I am on hold. If an article is interesting and I want to share it―I rip it out and route it to my colleagues.

So, if you do any kind of communication for your business, social club, or church, I’m not sure you should have a 100-percent digital strategy. Perhaps you should consider the old-fashioned way of keeping people in the loop and send a paper newsletter. You might be surprised at how many of your customers, friends, and colleagues find it refreshing.

Comic from Poofytoo.com

Who would have thought that paper would ever be a challenge to digital? I’m sure other surprises are coming too.


On the last day of my week’s vacation on Maui, as I was getting ready for my morning walk, the Emergency Alert went off on my phone at 8:05.

I glanced at the message, and heard the echo of the alarm going off on every cell phone of the hundreds of people, attending a medical trade show, who were in the same outdoor lobby area as me.

It became surreal when I read the words, “Ballistic Missile Threat” and “this is not a drill.”
Almost immediately, my cell phone rang. It was my daughter, Alex, calling me from our hotel room on the ninth floor. “What do I do, Mom?”

“Get your clothes on and take the stairs next to the elevator and I will be standing at the bottom of the stairwell.”

The only thing that went through my mind at that moment was September 11, 2001. What did the people who survived do if they were in the Twin Towers? (They immediately made their way to ground floor of the building.)

She was down the stairs and next to me in what seemed to be seconds.

I’m sure you’ve seen the posts on Twitter, Facebook, and in the news. Actually, we both were checking Twitter constantly to get some sense if this was really happening.

We were with hundreds of people on the bottom floor of a very large hotel. There was no screaming, no rushing, no panic. We saw young moms and dads holding their infants tight, with bottles and diapers in tow. We saw people struggling to get their pants on, as many rushed out of their hotel rooms with their clothes in hand. We did see people crying and many people calling their families and loved ones. The hotel staff directed us into ballrooms, which were large and “safe” (still not sure what that means). Everyone stayed amazingly calm.

So, what do you do when you learn that a ballistic missile is headed toward you? As it turns out, not a whole heck of a lot.

It’s not like you can go to higher ground, like when there is a tsunami warning. And none of us was aware of any shelter-type areas in the hotel (although I figured the stairwell would be the safest and most secure).

It was over in about 20 minutes when the hotel staff announced that they had checked with the Maui Police Department and there was no missile threat. About 15 to 20 minutes after that, we got an Emergency Alert text telling us there was no missile threat and it was a false alarm. Those first 20 minutes flew by. Our hearts were pounding.

But most interesting was what I observed after the “all clear” sign was given.

All the business people went back to work. Our hotel was the home base for a medical trade show, so everyone went back to their booths.

I took a walk along the beach path and walked by four or five hotel pools, which normally would be surrounded with people sitting on beach chairs. There was no one at first. Then, within 45 minutes, all the chairs were filled. I overheard parents talking to their young children, saying things like, “it was OK to be scared.”

I also noticed for the rest of the day that there was an air of calmness, civility, and patience. I realize that I was in Hawaii, where everything is usually calmer than on the mainland, but even the tourists were nicer.

It’s like what happens at Christmastime…everyone is just nicer to one another. All of us strangers had faced a seemingly dire situation together that morning; it had bonded all of us on the island. So everywhere we went, people were nicer, patient, and considerate.

When Alex and I were driving to the airport, we debriefed on our morning. These are the things we discussed:

What I learned? Life is short. Do the things you want. Tell the people you love and care about that you love and care about them.

And, yes, I do plan to return to Maui later this year. No threat of a ballistic missile is going to keep me away from the beautiful skies, the warm beaches and ocean breezes, and the amazing food.



Alex and me on our way to Maui

Boost February impulse sales by cross-merchandising fresh berries with shelf-stable, ready-to-eat crêpes

Los Alamitos, CA (January 2018) – Boost berry sales by cross-merchandising with top-selling, value-added produce items like ready-to-eat French Style Crêpes available from Frieda’s Specialty Produce. Historically, the biggest sales period for crêpes is from Valentine’s Day through Mother’s Day in May.

Frieda’s newly designed instant display unit holds four 12/5 oz. cases of the shelf-stable, ready-to-eat French Style Crêpes. The display and the packaging feature a bright, fun design that attracts impulse shoppers, especially millennials, and includes how to prepare crêpes in three easy steps.

“Our top retail clients suggested that we design these space-saving display units,” said Alex Jackson Berkley, assistant sales manager at Frieda’s. “We also found that the stand-up displays draw attention to other produce around the area and not just to the crêpe packages themselves. They definitely work well with berries and also with tropical fruits and citrus.”

These displays are also great for center aisle promotions with jams.

Call a Frieda’s account manager today for sweet deals on these crêpes displays and other Valentine’s Day promotion ideas.



About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit to dragon fruit and from Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes to habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is 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.

As I am writing this, I am aboard a flight from Houston, Texas, back to Orange County, California. My first business trip of the year started on January 2 and took me to Ohio, where the temperature each morning was 4 degrees. Thankfully, my gloves and thick winter coat kept me insulated from the freezing cold.

Sometimes, the dramatic change in the weather from one place to the next when you are traveling on business can affect your attitude. You know what I mean—you can be a little testy, grouchy, and not a lot of fun to be around.

Can you imagine what it must be like for flight attendants—especially during this first week of the year when non-business travelers are making their way back from their holiday vacations, and students are headed back to college, and one of the worst storms of the decade is blasting the Midwest and East Coast?

So, as I made my connection in Houston and boarded my flight home to Orange County, I did what I always do when I board the plane and said hello to the flight attendant. I could tell she wasn’t having a great day. Many flights had been canceled. When I jokingly asked about getting coffee, she let me know right away that she hadn’t even set up the galley yet.

Based on her response, I wasn’t expecting a lot on this flight home.

As the flight attendant came down the aisle shortly after the flight took off, I asked for her name.

“Althea,” she said.

“That’s a beautiful name!”

She then asked for my name, which kind of surprised me.

About 30 minutes into the flight, I was startled out of my reading when someone said, “Karen, did you say you wanted some coffee?” I mean, who knew my name on this flight?

It was Althea.

“You caught me off guard, Althea!” She giggled, and she had that smile on her face for the rest of the flight.

We connected just by knowing each other’s names. And that is all it took to change someone’s attitude.

How often do you sense that someone you are interacting with is having a bad day? Like a server at the restaurant, a checker at the grocery store, the person parking your car, or even a complete stranger in line ahead of you who is grouchy or grumpy. Do you check them off as being rude and act grouchy right back at them?

The next time you encounter those people, I would encourage you to stop for a moment and perform a small act of kindness. I’m not talking about things as dramatic or expensive as those “SoCal Helpful Honda People,” springing acts of kindness across the region from giving away free pumpkins for Halloween to helping a military member get home for the holidays. (They talked about some of these acts on their radio spot. I think it’s a brilliant marketing campaign!) I’m talking about just simply treating everyone as a person. Look them in the eye, smile, say, “have a great day,” and mean it. Find out their name. Pay them a sincere compliment or thank them for their service.

These days, there are a lot of angry, grouchy people out there. People who are having a bad day for a variety of reasons—and it’s not just the weather. I do know that being kind and making a personal connection with a complete stranger can be a game changer for them and for me.

The Dalai Lama said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” So, why don’t we start the new year with being kind, and making it our New Year’s resolution? Smile at everyone you see even if you don’t know them. Ask strangers their names and make them feel important.

Oh, and Althea did get me some coffee after all!


Shoppers seek out fruits and vegetables to boost brain health and as alternative to carb-heavy ingredients

Los Alamitos, CA (January 2018) – Brain foods and carb alternatives are two of the hottest healthy eating trends for 2018, and shoppers will be looking in the produce department to find what they need.

“Shoppers are always trying to make healthier choices at the beginning of the year, which includes seeking out fresh produce they read or hear about in the food trend lists,” said Alex Jackson Berkley, assistant sales manager of Frieda’s Specialty Produce. “Retailers must be ready to meet the demand.”

Many health publications, including “Today’s Dietitian” magazine, point to brain foods as one of the top trends for 2018. These are foods that help with cognitive function, memory, and alertness. Some brain-healthy foods include fresh fruits and vegetables high in anthocyanin, the antioxidant in blue-purple foods like blueberries, purple grapes, and Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes.

The National Restaurant Association and Natural Grocers see a trend in vegetables as carb substitutes―from spiralized vegetable “noodles” for pasta to sweet potato slices as “toasts.” Adding vegetables to unexpected dishes like oatmeal, smoothies, and desserts to add nutritional values, colors, and flavors is also a trend to watch for.

“The Stokes Purple® sweet potato is on those lists as a hip and healthy food to eat in 2018,” said Berkley. “In addition to being a source of brain-healthy anthocyanin, Stokes Purple® sweet potato fans have been adding them to everything from breakfast burritos to brownies.

“Retailers can tie in the ‘Power of Purple’ with Ultra Violet being 2018’s color of the year for their promotions,” added Berkley. In December, Pantone, the global authority on color, announced Ultra Violet as the color of 2018 that will be seen everywhere from fashion to food.

Call Frieda’s account managers today to kick off your “Power of Purple” program and start 2018 off right.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit to dragon fruit and from Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes to habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is 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.

Take egg roll and wonton wrappers beyond Asian cuisine

Egg rolls and wontons have never wandered far out of the American culinary purview.  After all, Chinese cuisine is one of the most popular ethnic foods in the U.S.

However, we have seen surge in popularity with egg roll and wonton wrappers in recent years as more people are cooking at home. Home cooks are wrapping and rolling fearlessly with all the video tutorials out there to guide them along the way, and with the wrappers being readily available at supermarkets.


But egg rolls and wontons have come a long way from the traditional filling of meat and vegetables and deep frying. Have you tried the Tex Mex, avocado, or salmon egg rolls at the Cheesecake Factory? Or perhaps the chicken wonton tacos at Applebee’s?

Clearly, these little pastry sheets are definitely meant for so much more than just egg rolls and wontons. They’re just waiting for you to unwrap and unleash a delicious culinary world beyond the traditional Asian applications.

Wok, away, grasshopper! Here are three creative ways to use egg roll and wonton wrappers.

Meal In a Cup

Eggroll wrappers fit perfectly into standard muffin tins, and smaller wonton wrappers are adorable in mini tins! After a quick trip to the oven, these pastry cups are ready to be filled with just about anything from sweet to savory.

How to: Spray muffin tins with cooking spray or brush lightly with olive oil, then fit one wrapper into each cup. Depending on a recipe, you may fill them and bake them off all in one go, or you may have to bake the cups first, fill them, then bake again. Either way, the results are the same: delicious, bite-size morsels!

With what do you fill them? Anything you heart desired! You can just spoon in some Chinese chicken salad, or take a southwestern turn and fill with black bean salad with avocado. For a hot meal, try ricotta cheese with meat sauce topped with mozzarella for a lasagna cup, ground turkey taco filling topped with cheese and tomatoes, or jalapeno poppers like this one below.


Fresh Pasta Stand-In

No time to roll out fresh pasta? Egg roll and wonton wrappers to the rescue!

Use egg roll wrappers as lasagna sheets. No need to pre-cook the noodles! Just layer them in as you would with your regular lasagna application. Cover and bake until the noodles are cooked through, then you can bake a little longer or put the lasagna under the broiler if you like that brown and melty, cheesy crust.

As for wonton wrappers, they are just the right size for making ravioli. Fill these sheets with anything from simple ricotta (and bake for appetizer) to the show stopping raviolo al uovo with ricotta and runny egg yolk center.


Sweet Sensations

The sky’s the limit when it comes to using egg roll and wonton wrappers for desserts! Make the dessert cups by brushing on melted butter instead of non-stick spray. Sprinkle on some cinnamon-sugar for a perfect ice cream vessel (hm…dulce de lechce ice cream…), apple pie filling, or cannoli cream.

You can also make traditional shaped egg rolls and wontons that are crispy on the outside and filled with oozy, gooey, yummy sweet fillings like fried chocolate hazelnut banana raviolis, or S’more egg rolls filled with chocolate and marshmallow fluff.


And by the way, these egg roll and wonton wrappers freeze really well. Pack unused portions into a zip top back, squeeze out all the air, and pop them into the freezer. They’ll keep for at least two months. Just thaw them out in your refrigerator overnight before use.

But seriously though, with all the things you can make with these wrappers, we doubt you’ll have them in your freezer that long.

Peak season citrus and fresh vegetables play major roles in this food-centric lunar festival

Hang the red lanterns, gather your citrus fruits, and cook your noodles. On February 16, it’s time to welcome the year of the Dog!

Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) is the most important traditional Chinese holiday, and is celebrated around the world. The celebration starts on the second new moon after the winter solstice, which is on February 8, 2016, and goes on for 15 days. During this time, also known as the Spring Festival, those who celebrate visit temples to pay respect to their ancestors and pray for good fortune in the coming year. Small red envelopes of money are given to children as a token of good luck and prosperity. And, like most any family-centered holiday, everyone gathers around for a family feast, making Chinese New Year one of the biggest food holidays of the year.

Food is definitely a focus of Chinese New Year celebration, but it’s more than just nourishment. In Chinese traditions, foods served during the festival have auspicious meanings. Chinese traditions are rich with wordplay and symbolism. Some of the dishes and ingredients have names that sound similar to words and phrases referring to good wishes.

For example, “Kumquat” literally means “golden orange.” Symbolizing wealth and prosperity, the little citrus fruits, and sometimes the tree saplings, are given as gifts during Chinese New Year. Other “wealthy” fruits include Oranges and Tangerines. The larger citrus like Pummelos and Grapefruits symbolize abundance, prosperity, and family unity.

Another item that represents good fortune is Daikon or Asian Radish. In one Chinese dialect, the word for radish is a homophone for “good fortune.” This is why the savory radish cake is traditionally eaten during Chinese New Year celebration. But Daikon is more versatile than that. It can be added to soups and stews, steamed, or eaten fresh, chopped up or thinly shaved into salads.

Daikon could be a part of the mixed vegetable dish that represents family unity. This typical stir-fry is made with a touch of oyster sauce for business success and a mix of vegetables like Shanghai Bok Choy for close family ties, and Woodear and Shiitake Mushrooms for longevity.

The ultimate longevity blessing, however, comes from the noodles. Long and uncut, they symbolize long life. While Chow Mein is a traditional choice, other Asian noodles like Yakisoba are used for pan-fries and stir-fries, and Udons are used in soups. Shrimp may be added for liveliness and pork for abundance of blessings.

One of the many Chinese New Year wishes translates to “May your happiness be without limit.” With good eating like this, it definitely is the beginning of a very happy year!

Kung Hei Fat Choy! (Happy New Year and be prosperous!)

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