Los Alamitos, CA – (January 2020) – Frieda’s Specialty Produce, known for spotting trends like veggies for dessert and unicorn food, has updated its predictions for 2020 to help retailers make room for what’s hot.

Frieda’s trendologists are at it again. “We are in the fields with our growers and in the kitchens with our chefs,” says Cindy Sherman, director of marketing and innovation. “We dive deep into our consumer research to identify real changes in behavior versus the fads that are here today, gone tomorrow.” Find Frieda’s trend predictions below:



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 and dragon fruit to Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes and 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.

Los Alamitos, CA (January 2020) – The Kiwi Queen, Mushroom Queen, Packer’s 1979 Produce “Man” of the Year, Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, passed away on January 18 at the age of 96. Frieda lived a very long and healthy life. In fact, she became a vegan at the age of 95, choosing a plant-based diet.

Frieda was an incredibly vibrant woman her entire life and most recently received the Center for Growing Talent Catalyst Award which she accepted in person October 2019 during the Produce Marketing Association Convention in Anaheim. Keynote speaker Queen Latifah saluted the Kiwi Queen when she took the stage.

Frieda began her career in produce by working for Giumarra Brothers on the 7th street wholesale produce market (the company was managed by her husbands’ aunt and uncle). After a few years, the landlord of the produce market, the Southern Pacific Railroad, encouraged her to start her own business.

So on April 2, 1962, she opened Produce Specialties, Inc. on the L.A. Wholesale produce market with light lavender signs. She was the first woman to own and operate a wholesale produce company in the United States. That purple color turned into the company’s “trademarked” color, and to this day, most everyone in the produce industry associates “purple” with Frieda’s.

Frieda was eventually joined in the business by both her daughters:  Karen Caplan in 1977 and Jackie Caplan Wiggins in 1983. Frieda’s greatest joy was that she got to work side by side with her daughters every day.  Most recently, two of her grandchildren, Alex Berkley and Sophia Jackson joined the now third-generation family business.

Frieda was a political activist her entire life, starting with student body campaigns she ran while she was a student at UCLA.  In 1945 Frieda was named “Miss UCLA” for being the best known person on campus.

She was active in many local organizations, which provide support to people regardless of age, gender, race, color, sexual orientation or financial status. Some of her favorites were: Dramatic Results, Trust Women, and Women Against Gun Violence. She also supported the ACLU, Anti-Defamation League and Planned Parenthood.

She was part of a longitudinal study being conducted at UCI Mind Institute in Irvine, CA to help find the cause and cure for Alzheimer’s. After her passing, her brain was donated to UCI Mind so it could be studied to help solve this terrible disease.

A Celebration of Life will be held on February 22; the location and time to be announced. The family suggests anyone wanting to make a donation in her memory, to choose one of the organizations which were important to Frieda: Dramatic Results (Long Beach) www.dramaticresults.org, UCI Mind http://www.mind.uci.edu , Trust Women (Kansas) www.trustwomen.org , Women Against Gun Violence (Los Angeles) www.wagv.org , American Civil Liberties Union – ACLU (Los Angeles) www.aclusocal.org , Anti-Defamation League (Los Angeles) https://www.adl.org, Planned Parenthood (Orange and San Bernardino Counties) www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-orange-san-bernardino.


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 and dragon fruit to Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes and 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.

Some people may think that kindness is overrated. I’ve been pondering this over the past week based on a couple of recent experiences.

You know how it feels when the service is slow in a restaurant and you want to show your frustration to your server (when in fact it may have nothing to do with the server—perhaps the kitchen is short staffed or they got deluged with orders). Or maybe you’re just mad about something or someone has let you down. 

I get those feelings sometimes, especially when I am in traffic and I get frustrated at the pace that others are changing lanes, etc. Being kind isn’t always a natural reaction.

But during the last week, I had the most curious experiences. Two different people commented “thank you for being kind” to me after we were interacting during a time of frustration. Let me explain.

Experience #1: I get my prescription glasses at a special shop in Santa Monica about 40 miles from my home. I know it may seem a bit crazy to select new frames at a shop so far from my house, but I have found that not only are the designs unique, but the quality of my prescription and the fit are superb. So, you can imagine my frustration on Saturday when I went to pick up both my new regular specs and sunglasses and found that both frames were wrong. I was a bit put out that they had confirmed to me that both pairs were ready, so after lunch with a friend, I strolled into the shop completely prepared to walk out with my new, super cool-looking glasses. Wrong! It turned out that the person who had written up the order had written down an incorrect color for both frames. That person was not in the shop on the day I returned to try on each pair. However, the person who was helping me was extremely apologetic. She kept saying over and over again how sorry she was, and that she knew how much of an inconvenience it was for me. She and her colleague spent about 20 minutes helping me reselect the correct colors and rewriting the order. They offered to ship my new glasses to me so I would not have to drive up to Santa Monica again.

I guess her kindness and empathetic way of handling the situation caused me to dial down any frustration I had. I found myself being a lot more patient than usual. And after we completed the paperwork, and I thanked them, the clerk said to me, “Thank you for being kind.” (Wow—that really made me feel good that she perceived I was kind, instead of frustrated and impatient!)

Experience #2: I have been doing a remodeling project at my mom’s house for the past year. It felt like it a never-ending project with lots of hiccups, delays and issues. In the middle of our project, the construction company was sold, so I had to deal with new owners and a variety of workers. But the original project supervisor, Eddie, was a really nice guy. He would go the extra mile when there was an issue in my mom’s living area, and would respond quickly and always said “hello” to her when he arrived. He’s from Israel, and in 2018 I invited him and his daughter to our family Hanukkah dinner, as I thought they would enjoy the tradition celebration.

But after the company was sold in June, he was let go and I had to work with another supervisor. Just last week, we finally got the project completed, but there was still a lockbox (with a house key) at my mom’s house, and no matter who I called, no one seemed to have the code to remove it. And then I remembered Eddie. 

So yesterday I texted him and asked if he could help. I also asked how he was doing and how his daughter was doing. His reply was, “It was my lockbox, I’ll come remove it tomorrow. It was a pleasure meeting you, your family and your amazing mom. Thank you for being so kind to me.”

There was that phrase again: “Thank you for being kind.” 

What I’ve learned is that it really doesn’t take much time to inquire about someone personally and ask how they are doing before we jump into business or the agenda at hand. But many times we are in such a rush or are feeling such pressure, that we tend to skip that step. 

How would it make you feel, if after an interaction with someone where you had to solve a problem or deal with a real issue, they commented to you, “Thank you for being kind”? Or, if you’re at work and have to deal with tough situations, how would you feel if the feedback you heard was, “She is tough and firm, and pretty demanding, but she handles things in a kind way.” If I was applying for a position at a company and asked about the company values and culture, and heard that even tough situations are handled with kindness, it would make me want to work there.

It doesn’t take a lot to show kindness. It could be a smile. It could be a kind word. It could mean taking a few extra moments to make sure there are no misunderstandings and to thank the person.

In this day of rush-rush-rush, I think taking a moment and showing kindness to others is well worth it.




We all have our favorite takeout classics—Pad Thai and curries from Thai restaurants, dumplings from Chinese restaurants, pho from Vietnamese kitchens and different masalas from Indian eateries. When you go into the supermarket to gather ingredients to make an Asian favorite at home, you may see something called “yu choy sum” and have no idea what to do with it!

We at Frieda’s have created a comprehensive list of our ethnic favorites to help you decode the mystery of Asian cooking. This guide goes way beyond just broccoli and bean sprouts—it’s all about variety, flavor and freshness—and it’s easier than you’d think when using our Asian vegetable tutorial.

Bok Choy

This cousin to cabbage offers a satisfying crunch and delicate flavor to any meal. Though it is most commonly seen in stir-fries and sautés, we also love to use it raw in salads or braised in stews. We love adding it to our Asian Dumpling Soup recipe. Look for crisp, intact stalks with fresh looking leaves.

Chinese Bitter Melon

This “melon” is not a melon at all, in fact, it’s a gourd! The name isn’t totally misleading though—it is definitely bitter in flavor. This bitterness is easy to tame … all you need is some salt and a few minutes. Once you’ve tamed the flavor, slice the melon and add it to stir-fries, soups, curries—you name it! Choose firm, bruise-free bitter melons when shopping.


Chinese Eggplant

Long, slender and almost seedless, these eggplants are far less bitter than the American variety we see in our supermarkets. Chop Chinese eggplant up and add them to stir-fries, oven-roasted vegetable recipes or puree into a dip. We are really loving them in our Napa Cabbage Lettuce Cups with Chinese Eggplant and Basil. When shopping, look for a mostly smooth, shiny eggplant. Sponginess is normal.


Chinese Long Beans (A.K.A. Long Beans)

Long beans or Chinese long beans look like slightly darker (and very long) green beans. Their extra-firm texture makes them perfect for sautéing or roasting. When you’re shopping for these, you’ll want to select beans with some flexibility. Keep them refrigerated until you plan to use them.

Chinese Okra

A vegetable of many names: silk gourd, sing qua and veggie sponge. Chinese okra is primarily used in southern China, Southeast Asia and Japan. Unlike its southern American counterpart, this okra can grow up to three feet long! With its soft, spongy texture and zucchini-like flavor, it is the perfect addition to any dish. We recommend trying it in curries, stir-fries or for frying. Look for firm yet spongy okra when in the store with minimal blemishes.


Daikon Radish

You may be familiar with daikon if you eat a lot of Japanese food. It is often served pickled as “noodles,” shredded into rolls or served on the side with different types of sushi. It looks like a large, white carrot and has a sharp (yet sweet) flavor. When selecting them at your supermarket, choose a radish that is fairly firm with no dark spots.


Dragon Fruit

This stunning cactus fruit is speckled with edible seeds. It’s a common co-star with açai, making for delightfully sweet and refreshing smoothies/smoothie bowls. Dragon fruit comes in a variety of color combinations, ranging from red skin/white flesh to red skin/red flesh to yellow skin/white flesh. Its country of origin can also affect the sweetness level. The red skin/white flesh variety is mildly sweet, and the yellow skin/white flesh variety is super sweet! (The red skin/red flesh version falls in between the two.) Look for unscarred skin when at the supermarket. You can also scoop out the flesh and freeze it to extend the shelf life.


Gai Lan (A.K.A. Chinese Broccoli)

This vegetable is longer and leafier than common broccoli, resembling rapini or broccoli raab. Its slightly sharp flavor is perfect sautéed with citrus, oven roasted or grilled. Look for tight heads (flowering is common and totally edible!) with crisp leaves, and keep refrigerated until ready to use.



Arguably the biggest staple in Asian cooking, ginger is spoken of in the Jewish Talmud, was written about by Marco Polo and even recommended by Henry VIII as a remedy against the plague. Its peppery and zesty flavor is a great addition to sweet and savory dishes like cakes, stir-fries, teas, smoothies—you name it! Look for roots with firm skin. Struggle with peeling ginger? Use a spoon to scrape off the skin!

Indian Bitter Melon

Unlike its Chinese counterpart, this bitter melon has rough, bumpy skin and a tail-like vine. The bitter flavor aids in its medicinal qualities (or so the story goes), which can be tamed by sprinkling salt on the melon and letting it rest. Then you can slice and sauté, braise or even stuff Indian bitter melon! When shopping, look for firm bitter melons.


Indian Eggplant

Similar to American eggplant, this version has thicker skin and a stronger flavor. This vegetable is most commonly used in baingan bharta, an Indian staple. Select Indian eggplants with mostly smooth skin that are firm to the touch. Sponginess is normal!



Commonly found in Thai and Vietnamese dishes, these stalks impart a lemony flavor to any dish. Steep lemongrass into broths and curries but remove it before serving, as it is inedible. Select stalks that feel firm and look fresh.

Napa Cabbage (A.K.A. Chinese Cabbage)

Napa cabbage is a staple in Asian cooking. Its crisp, pale green leaves are often used in slaws and salads. Napa cabbage is also the main ingredient in kimchi. We love to use it raw in Napa Cabbage Wraps or roasted for Sesame-Roasted Napa Cabbage. Look for firm and crisp cabbage when shopping.



A popular staple in Southern cooking and many Asian dishes, okra can be sliced and added to stir-fries, soups or eaten on its own. In order to avoid a slimy texture, either soak it in vinegar and water or cook on a very high heat. When you’re at the store, look for brightly colored pods.

Opo Squash

Similar to zucchini, opo squash has a very mild flavor. Use as you would use other soft-shelled squash— in soups, stir-fries or stuff them! Look for squashes that are firm to the touch with fairly smooth skin.


Shanghai Bok Choy

This special baby bok choy variety has smooth spoon-shaped leaves and pale green stalks. It has a mild, sweet cabbage-like flavor. Like regular bok choy, it’s entirely edible and excellent in stir-fries, braised or roasted. Our favorite recipe is Grilled Shanghai Bok Choy. Look for crisp, intact stalks with fresh-looking leaves.



Small Taro Root

This brown root has white/beige potato-like flesh with occasional purple freckles. It’s starchy, nutty and delicious. Unlike some veggies, taro root MUST be cooked before consumption—it is toxic if eaten raw! This root vegetable is commonly used to make staples like poi and taro root cakes. You can also substitute it for potato in many sweet or savory recipes. Look for roots that are heavy for their size and firm to the touch.


Thai Eggplant

Ranging in color from all green to green with white stripes, this little eggplant is best known for being one of the key ingredients in curries. It is also perfect for pickling, adding to sauces like nam prik (a Thai chili sauce) and sweet-and-sour dishes for texture and flavor. Like the other eggplants on this list, look for a product with mostly smooth skin that is fairly firm to the touch. Sponginess is totally normal!


Thai Green Chiles

These chiles can range in color from bright green to red when fully mature and are a 7-8 out of 10 on the heat scale. Referred to as “Bird chiles” when dried, these peppers are commonly found in curries, pickles and chile sauces. Choose firm, smooth and unblemished chiles.


Can you say super food? Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and has been a healing staple for hundreds of years. It is less spicy in flavor that its cousin, ginger, and has a more peppery and earthy profile. Make Golden Milk Turmeric Chai, Lemony Ginger Turmeric Chicken or our favorite Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower Tacos! When buying turmeric, search for firm roots.


Young Coconut

Dive into paradise with the refreshing, sweet water from young coconuts. Known for their high level of potassium and electrolytes, these coconuts are the perfect treat. You can use the water and the sweet, delicate meat in recipes like our Young Coconut Passion Fruit Granita, Young Coconut Chia Pudding or even just blend the meat and water to make coconut milk! These are highly perishable, so keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to enjoy.


Yu Choy Sum

This vegetable looks very similar to gai lan—long and leafy with little flowers. The big distinction between these two is that yu choy sum has yellow flowers and skinny stems, where gai lan has white flowers and thicker stems. The two can be prepared very similarly—in stir-fries, soups or roasted on their own. Look for firm stems and full leaves when buying this vegetable at your supermarket.



And don’t forget to include Frieda’s wonton wrappers and eggroll wrappers in your pantry for Asian cooking!


To check out more of our Ultimate Guides, click here, here and here.

Los Alamitos, CA (January 2020) – Friendsgiving is so 2019. What’s 2020 you ask? Galentine’s Day.

Galentine’s Day takes place on or around Valentine’s Day and is a celebration of friendship.  With no significant other needed, it’s a way to celebrate your gal pals—or any pals for that matter.

“We love the notion of Galentine’s Day here at Frieda’s, where we have always celebrated female empowerment. It gives our retailers a way to double the number of Valentine’s Day celebrations and help fill in the gap in between January healthy eating and March St. Patrick’s Day fun,” said Alex Berkley, Frieda’s director of sales. “I plan to invite my girlfriends over on February 13 for champagne and a make-your-own crêpe bar with berries, Nutella and freshly made Frieda’s young coconut cream.”

Frieda’s offers single cases of ready-to-eat, shelf-stable French-style crêpes with 12 packages per display-ready case. The display and packaging feature a bright, fun design that attracts impulse shoppers, especially Galentine’s Day celebrating millennials, and includes how to prepare crêpes in three easy steps.

To make your crêpe display a dessert destination in the produce aisle, place it by the berry patch, along with chilled young coconuts. Don’t just stop there—merchandise whipped cream, chocolate sauce and glaze in the surrounding space for maximum impact.

Call a Frieda’s account manager today for sweet deals on crêpes and other Valentine’s Day/Galentine’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 and dragon fruit to Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes and 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.

For the last week or so, I have read many articles in favor of and against the practice of new years’ resolutions. As you can imagine, many people make it an annual practice of declaring resolutions to: lose weight, exercise more, be nicer to their kids/spouses, get up earlier, etc. If you visit your local gym anytime during the next month or two, you will find it more crowded than ever … filled with all those folks who made resolutions. But those crowds usually die down quickly as the year progresses.

Frankly, over the years, I have vacillated between making resolutions, declaring my own personal theme for the year and—as a third option—doing nothing.

The whole process can be a bit self-defeating and discouraging because the resolutions seem to go by the wayside quickly.

So, this year I am trying something different. I am going to follow the practices of a long-time business consultant:

  1. During the last month, I have written out some goals for the year in the following areas:  physical/health, family, travel, personal and professional. Many of these items I already do and want to continue. Others are goals that are new or a stretch for me.
  2. I develop a list of measures for the goals. For example: under family, I want to spend “alone” time once a month with each of my daughters. For physical/health, I plan to do four cardio workouts a week and two strength training workouts. Each of these is easy to track.
  3. I purchased a monthly planner notebook that allows me to record my activities on a daily basis. I carry it with me to/from work each day.
  4. Most importantly, I have an accountability partner. My partner and I started discussing our goals at Thanksgiving and we each modified our own goals over the last month. We sat down on New Years’ Eve and reviewed each other’s goals for 2020. Because there are opportunities to do many of our goals together, we were able to adjust and modify our respective goals so they are in alignment.

I’ll bet you have a friend who wants to attend yoga a couple times a week with you, or a family member who also wants to see you regularly at family dinners. Or how about a close friend who wants to develop better habits in all the same areas that you do, but your specific goals are different? For me, having the monthly calendar where I can keep track of things gives me a sense of accomplishment when I can see in one place what I have done and that I have done what I said I wanted to do.

Having an accountability partner can actually make the process more fun! As long as you have a healthy relationship, not one that is too competitive or judgmental, sharing your goals and doing periodic check-ins is a gentle way to keep you focused and more disciplined.

My partner has been using this system of setting goals and tracking them for many years. He tells me that the real key is to have an accountability partner or partners (he actually calls them his “personal board of directors”). He shares his goals with them at the beginning of the year and checks in with them once a quarter to report his progress, and he asks them to challenge him when needed.

Just last night he gently asked me if I had been recording my goals on my monthly planning calendar (I admitted that I hadn’t been), and I pulled out my calendar and we walked through recording the last few days. I felt encouraged and supported about changing my habits and a sense of accomplishment that I had worked out the number of times I had committed to.

Well, this new habit applies to me in my personal life with my personal goals. But I can see the spillover effect into professional life as well.

As an example, if you work in a company, I’m sure they have a company business plan. And each department has its own plan, which rolls up into and supports the company business plan.

As a member of a department, you would have your own goals or an annual plan that you would discuss weekly or monthly with your manager. This personal/professional plan would support your department’s plan.

Remember a few months ago I blogged about “How you do anything is how you do everything”? Why not use the insights and good habits from your work and apply them to your personal life and vice versa?

And if you think I’m a little crazy to take my personal goal-setting to this level, then I must remind you of a saying I’ve often heard, “What gets measured, gets done.”

Try it!

And Happy New Year!




Los Alamitos, CA (January 2020) – Did you know that 73% of shoppers will choose a grocery store because it has more variety in its fresh produce offerings than other retailers1? Make room for the assortment your customers are looking for with Frieda’s new three-tiered display shipper and bin display shipper.

“We are kicking off the New Year with two newly designed shippers,” says Alex Berkley, director of sales at Frieda’s. “The three-tiered shipper lets produce managers display a range of items at once, while our beautiful bin display was made for merchandising one or two items. Both shippers were designed with the retailer in mind, helping them to have flexibility and to allow stores to maximize sales per square foot all year long, while also providing cooking inspiration for shoppers.”

Fill your display shippers with items like Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, Frieda’s branded grab-in-go citrus pouches and eye-catching tropical items like dragon fruit and passion fruit.

To add incremental shelf space to your stores, contact Frieda’s today! Shippers will be offered free of charge with minimum purchases.


C+R Research, 2019.


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 and dragon fruit to Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes and 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.