The specialty produce company is set to wow attendees with attention-grabbing display unit

Los Alamitos, CA – (February 2018) – Frieda’s Specialty Produce is bringing innovation to the table at SEPC Southern Exposure expo booth 205 on March 3 with its traffic-stopping, three-tier display unit and sampling of Frieda’s flavorful varieties of dragon fruit.

Frieda’s three-tier display unit is easy to set up in the store and takes up very little space. The bright colors and attractive design draw in curious shoppers. Frieda’s also offers a customized “Pick of the Month” program to help retailers make the most of the display.

“Produce managers tell us these displays are a definite traffic stopper,” said Alex Jackson Berkley, assistant sales manager at Frieda’s. “Shoppers love to check out new produce being displayed on the unit.”

At its booth, Frieda’s will also be sampling high-flavor red and white pitaya from Ecuador and Israel. As one of the nation’s largest direct importers, distributors and shippers of dragon fruit, the company offers the best variety options with almost year-round supply from all over the world—Vietnam, the U.S., Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Israel.

“There are many options for dragon fruit (aka pitaya) and we offer the most extensive selection that consumers are looking for,” said Berkley. “With our suite of great tasting fruits to choose from, retailers can keep dragon fruit sales going year-round at low retail prices.”

Stop by Frieda’s booth 205 to taste the differences, and chat with the sales team about the specialty programs.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - 3-Tier Display

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.

This past weekend, I attended TEDxRiceU, an independently organized TED event at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

If you’re not aware, TED is a nonpartisan nonprofit started in 1984 and devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. Smaller, local events have sprung up all over the country as the TED organization shares its name and guidelines so others can put on TED-type talks, each of which is called a “TEDx.”

Why did I go to TEDxRiceU?

My friend Lisa Helfman was one of the speakers. Lisa’s day job is as the director of real estate for a large Texas-based grocery chain. Like many of us, she is also a mom (of two young boys, ages 9 and 12) and is constantly balancing the demands of her career and her home life. But her talk was about Brighter Bites, the nonprofit she founded, and how it’s gone national.

Lisa and Dr. Shreela Sharma, co-founder of Brighter Bites

Lisa told the captive audience that before starting Brighter Bites, her body was completely out of balance despite her healthy and happy appearance. She was throwing up daily from stress headaches, eating bad food, and drinking so much Diet Dr. Pepper that she convinced her firm to add it to the soda fountain offering.

So she joined a co-op to add more fruits and vegetables to her diet. As she started to eat more fresh produce, her kids did as well. And she did start to feel better and less stressed. One day, at a birthday party, her son said, “Mom, do I have to eat that cake? It’s too sweet. Do they have grapes or blueberries?” True story!

That conversation with her son inspired her to start Brighter Bites in Houston in 2012.

The mission is to create communities of health through fresh food. As a nonprofit, the company delivers fruit and vegetables into families’ hands through their kids’ schools, while teaching them how to choose and use a different kind of fast food. Brighter Bites now receives funding to serve families and schools not only in Houston but also in Dallas, Austin, New York City, Washington DC, and Southwest Florida.

That was indeed a great story. But that’s not the whole story.

Lisa’s TEDx message was titled “The Virtuous Cycle of Caring.” She spoke about how by caring for herself, it inspired her to care for others. And caring for others, telling her story every chance she gets, and listening to the stories of the beneficiaries of Brighter Bites caused her to feel better physically and mentally. Lisa was actually caring for herself more, as a result of caring for others.

You would think that because it was her story, one she is incredibly passionate about and knows intimately, she could easily do an extemporaneous 18-minute talk from a few bullet points on an index card.

Wrong.

You see, Lisa had set a personal goal for herself three years ago to be invited to do a TED talk.  She dreamed about it. She talked about it. It was on her goal list. Then, without her knowledge, Lisa’s staff submitted an application and nominated her to give the TED talk!

When Lisa was invited in November by Rice University to give one of only seven TEDx talks at the event, she got very serious about it.

First, Lisa brainstormed with her management team and board of directors at Brighter Bites on the right story to tell. Should it be about how her personal journey inspired her to start a nonprofit? How almost every single person she told her idea to connected her to potential sponsors, donors, and supporters? How she was introduced to one of the country’s leading epidemiologists who does research on how food consumption can change behavior and health, and ultimately help control and reduce the country’s obesity epidemic?

Then Lisa worked with her marketing agency to put together her slides and hired a speech coach to work on her delivery. She practiced multiple times a day for weeks, making small tweaks as she went to perfect the talk.

You may think that her preparation was overkill, but that’s because you don’t know Lisa like I do.

Have you ever felt like you practiced too much for a presentation to a client or for a speech? I doubt it. Most of us wish we had more time to practice! We especially wish we had a co-worker or colleague who would sit in front of us and critique our message, our style, and our slides.

I can tell you after watching Lisa’s delivery on Saturday afternoon that her preparation paid off. People queued up afterward to tell her how inspiring she was!

Not only has Lisa done a great job of taking care of herself and her children, and recognizing that she could leverage her passion to start a nonprofit that would benefit other families, but her intense professional approach to her once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a great first impression has helped spread her story across the U.S.

Lisa at TEDxRiceU. I’m so proud of my friend!

I admire Lisa for creating her own Virtuous Circle of Caring through Brighter Bites. And I’ve been inspired by her willingness to “date TED exclusively for six weeks” so she could be the most memorable and polished presenter.

We should all be a little more like Lisa.

Karen

P.S. TEDxRiceU recorded all the presentations and they will be made available on Facebook within a few weeks.

A few months ago, I shared my latest obsession with Audible, which offers an alternative to reading paper books. Essentially, it’s the most recent version of “books on tape.”

I have loved reading since I was a child. In fact, my first paid job was as a page in my local library! But as my life got busier and the time available to actually read (without falling asleep) diminished, I was ecstatic to be introduced to Audible as a way to use those long commutes up and down the Southern California freeways in a positive way.

But what to “read?” I am not a great fan of mysteries, and I did not want to listen only to motivational messages and self-help books. So I asked my friends for their recommendations and started paying attention to book reviews.

To be honest, biographies and autobiographies have always been my favorite kinds of books. To get inside the head of someone I admire or to learn about their lives from the inside out has always intrigued me.

I have listened to 15 books since I first subscribed to Audible last September, and I have found that when authors narrate their books, it’s as if you are truly inside their heads. The way they read their books, the inflection of their voices, and how they pause make the book feel like you are one-on-one with the authors.

So, let me tell you about my two latest findings.

First, spaceships. Or rather, the International Space Station. I was flipping through my Costco magazine a few months ago when I noticed that an autobiography of an astronaut was featured: “Endurance” by Scott Kelly.

Scott literally “talks” about his life’s journey, bouncing between the past and the present in alternating chapters. For example, as a boy, he was not the best student. But after reading “The Right Stuff” during college, he became determined to become an astronaut. Of course, he talks about his 340 days aboard the International Space Station—and his twin brother, Mark Kelly (whose wife, politician Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in Arizona in 2011), who is also an astronaut.

Scott’s book is captivating and eye-opening. He shares his innermost thoughts and feelings about his marriage, his kids, his family, NASA, Russian cosmonauts, you name it. Scott tells it like it is, complete with swear words!

And now, tennis shoes.

I haven’t always listened to my mother, but like me, she is a voracious reader. A few months ago, she said, “Karen, you MUST read ‘Shoe Dog’ by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. It is the best book I have ever read!”

I thought, really mom? The best book ever? I think you’re exaggerating. But she kept saying it. Since I had run out of books to listen to, I thought, what the heck, let’s give it a go.

The introduction was read by Knight, but the rest of the book was read by two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz. And boy, he sounds almost as if he has become Phil!

For me, this book had everything going for it. It was an autobiography. It was about a business person. There were plenty of challenges, inspiration, and conflict, plus many business lessons. It was a love story. And sadly, at the end, when Phil writes about losing his oldest son during a diving incident, there was extreme sadness and raw emotion.

What did I enjoy most about Phil’s story? He was passionate about running (he ran track in college), then he took that passion and turned it into a business idea—distributing running shoes manufactured in Japan. No matter what obstacle he faced—lack of money, need for personnel, challenging and lying competition, creating a new market that hadn’t existed before—he ignored them. (Gee, doesn’t that sound like somebody we know?)

Coincidentally, Phil turns 80 next week; he is ranked by Forbes as the 28th richest person in the world. He is humble and passionate. His willingness to share his story was probably cathartic in some ways, but for me, it was truly inspirational.

By the way, “Shoe Dog” may be the best book I have ever read. You were right, Mom.

Karen

P.S. Meeting Phil in person is now on my Bucket List!

Capitalize on the shift in shoppers’ behavior during 40 days of Lent

Los Alamitos, CA – (February 2018) – The start of Lent on Ash Wednesday coincides with Valentine’s Day this year for the first time in 73 years. While some shoppers will be reaching for chocolates and filet mignon on February 14, Lent-observing shoppers will give up other food indulgences during this 40-day period. It’s a great opportunity to promote a variety of healthy and wholesome fresh produce to fill up their baskets.

Twenty-six percent of Americans observe Lent and abstain from meat on Fridays when they traditionally enjoy seafood from Ash Wednesday through Thursday, March 29. Some go meatless the entire time.

“Produce departments should capitalize on the shift in shopping behavior by stocking up on a wide variety of fresh produce and meat substitutes during this time,” said Alex Jackson Berkley, assistant sales manager at Frieda’s Specialty Produce. “One of our largest retail clients, with a significant Hispanic shopping base in its region, promotes Frieda’s Soyrizo™ for the entire Lent period.

“With the majority of the Hispanic community observing Lent, it is important that retailers are also ready with Latin produce,” said Berkley.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Lent Matters

Frieda’s recommends building larger than normal retail displays to feature top Latin seasonal sellers such as cactus pads (nopales), fresh Poblano and Anaheim peppers, and dried peppers like Guajillo, Ancho Mulato, and Pasilla Negro. Other popular items that complement the surge in seafood sales include shallots, ginger, fennel, key limes, and Meyer and pink lemons.

For more merchandising suggestions, contact Frieda’s account managers today.

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.

Frieda’s versatile egg-free wrappers are popular with shoppers

Los Alamitos, CA (February 2018) – Egg roll and wonton wrappers have always been top sellers year-round, but demand has been going up over the past few years as shoppers discover new ways to cook with them. Frieda’s impactful packaging also attracts Millennials and food lovers everywhere.

“Egg roll and wonton wrappers provide everyday meal time solutions for shoppers because they are so versatile,” said Alex Jackson Berkley, assistant sales manager of Frieda’s Specialty Produce. “With available online tutorials and recipe videos, shoppers have the confidence to work with these wrappers, and they’re putting their own spin on how to prepare them beyond Asian cuisine. In fact, Frieda’s most-viewed Facebook video features four different ways to fold wontons.”

Beyond the traditional preparation of egg rolls and wontons, these wrappers can be used like fresh pasta sheets to make lasagna, ravioli, and tortellini. They can be baked into cups to hold salads and other fillings, or baked flat for mini pizzas and appetizers.

In addition to its bright and cheerful packaging, Frieda’s egg roll and wonton wrappers have the added appeal of being egg-free.

“Shoppers with egg sensitivities are seeking out our egg-free wrappers in their local supermarkets—they don’t want to drive across town to find a specialty market to get them,” said Berkley.

Wok this way, retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice providers! Take egg roll and wonton wrappers beyond Chinese New Year promotions and make them a permanent part of your refrigerated case. Frieda’s account managers are standing by to help you build a successful program.

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.

A few weeks ago, I was in Hawaii on vacation. One of my great pleasures on the islands is tasting all the tropical fruits grown there. Although I sell tropical fruits for a living, the truth is that nothing tastes like a ripe fruit, right off the tree.

So, after a lunch in Hilo, we decided to walk through the local farmers market on the main street through town. In California, when I go to a farmers market, I see lots of strawberries, tomatoes, citrus fruit, and avocados. In Hilo that day, I saw mounds of starfruit, guavas, lychees, chayote, rambutans, and, alas, one of my favorites, mangosteens.

Mangosteen in Hawaii

I have such fond memories of mangosteens. When I was in high school, my mom imported the first mangosteens from British Honduras, now called Belize. I remember taking some samples of the dark purple, hard-shelled fruit to school; everyone looked at me like I was crazy as I showed them how to “squeeze” the hard shell and the amazing white flesh appeared. It was like a soft, tender fruit salad. After that first imported shipment, the USDA announced that the fruit could no longer be imported due to agricultural restrictions; many tropical fruits pose a threat to California agriculture as they are hosts to damaging pests.

Currently the only fresh mangosteens we get on a consistent basis are from Thailand and they have to be irradiated due to agricultural restrictions. Just recently we have been able to import them from Mexico.

But nothing rivals my memories of eating my first mangosteen back in high school. That was until my recent day in Hilo.

As we waited for our plane to arrive to take us to Maui, we tore through the bag of mangosteens. As you can see, we made a bit of a mess. A yummy mess!

Mangosteen in Hawaii

And in case you’re wondering about the medicinal qualities of mangosteens (aka the Queen of Fruits), it is the outside shell that is used for its possible curative properties. The shell is dried and ground up to use as a supplement. Personally, I am satisfied with just the amazing flavor.

Next time you are in Hawaii, I encourage you to buy a dozen or so fruits. You will be surprised at how sweet and refreshing they are. But don’t try to bring any home to the mainland as there are strict penalties for smuggling fresh produce to the mainland U.S.!

I guess I’ll just have to go back to Hawaii soon for my mangosteen fix!

Aloha,

Karen