Los Alamitos, CA (June 2020) – The highly coveted, always anticipated Angelcot® season has begun and quantities are extremely limited for this sought-after summer produce.
Allen Demo, Frieda’s director of sourcing & business development, was in the fields of Byron, CA, all week as the harvest began. “The fruit looks beautiful and it is the sweetest we’ve ever seen,” Demo says. “Brix level has reached 22 this year, which is unusual for an apricot.” Demo cautions, “Don’t even think about eating one of these without a napkin! Better yet, eat it over the sink.” The fruit’s highly juicy profile is a show-stopper this year.
Angelcots® are white-fleshed apricots known for having delicate skin and sweet flesh. They have the juiciness of the ripest nectarine with the delicate texture and aroma of an apricot. Angelcots® have the perfect balance of acid and sugar with a buttery, perfume-like sweetness. The exterior of the fruit is characterized by blushing, which is the telltale sign that you are about to eat an Anglecot instead of a regular old apricot.
The sweeter flavor profile makes these the perfect variety to introduce to younger shoppers that typically do not buy apricots. Promote them for snacking, baking or in salads, like grilled angelcot®, arugula & goat cheese salad. The crop is limited and mostly pre-booked, so call your Frieda’s account manager today to request samples for next year.
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.
I don’t know about you and your company, but at Frieda’s we invited all our employees back into the office a couple of weeks ago. In early March, like the rest of America, we thought it was best to have employees work from home. As an essential business (the food business, supplying grocery stores), our employees in the warehouse still came in every day. Thankfully our business continued to be very busy, packing and receiving all of our specialty and exotic produce, like Dragon Fruit and Jackfruit. Of course, we made sure to establish many new protocols to ensure workers’ health and safety—spacing workers six feet apart, lots of hand sanitizer, no large meetings and we set up satellite break rooms so everyone had plenty of space when they took their lunch breaks.
During the last three months, our office team rotated into the office—one person per department each day. This ensured the essential duties that involve phone calls and paperwork were done in a timely fashion. Everyone else worked from home. Thankfully, we had purchased laptops for all employees a few years ago as part of our Emergency Plan, so the staff were all equipped to make that move with less than 24 hours’ notice. Thank goodness for cell phones and Zoom.
Now that most everyone is back at work, the challenge became: how do we promote some fun, healthy activities plus get the team vibe back? When I received a LinkedIn comment from one of my produce industry friends suggesting we organize a team for a fitness walk/run/5K/30-mile online event sponsored by the Center For Growing Talent by the Produce Marketing Association—I jumped right on it.
What a great idea! Any company in the produce industry could put together a team, and each team member could choose the distance they wanted to do: 1 mile, 5K, or 30 miles in 30 days. Since I am newly into running, fast walking and half-marathons (daily fitness)—and being the competitive person that I am—I decided to invite everyone at our company to join me. I started with a personal email to all employees and then I asked our HR team to help me register employees who wanted to sign up. My goal was to get 25 employees to participate.
Man, was I surprised at how it turned out! At first the sign-ups were slow. But when we announced that if you signed up and completed your commitment, you would receive a $50 gift card … that seemed to get everyone’s attention!
This weekend marks the final day to record times and distances. We ended up having 48 of our employees sign up, and this Monday we had a spirit day and took some fun photos! (There is an award, of course, for the team who showed the most spirit and SWAG.) One group of employees from the warehouse even decided to get together on the weekend and hike 15-20 miles up Mount Wilson (the tallest peak in So Cal)!
Have you ever organized or participated in a team run with your coworkers? It’s a great way to promote teamwork and camaraderie—and break up the monotony of work. I remember years ago I worked with a woman who wanted to have a company softball league. She told me that when you play sports with your coworkers, you come back to the office more likely to work harder for and get along better with your coworkers—because you’re literally on the same team!
There are many silver linings to the coronavirus/shelter-at-home orders if we just look for them. For us, it seems like everyone was ready to get moving, exercise and spend time with their coworkers!
Last weekend I took my first plane flights since COVID-19 pretty much grounded me from my normal business travel schedule. Actually, as I look back on my calendar, I have not been on a plane this year!
So, this trip took me from Orange County through Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to change planes.
I had seen photos that friends had posted on Facebook of eerily empty airports and planes, so I was somewhat prepared. I carried my own mask (plus a back-up), along with sanitizing wipes. And, of course, I packed my own snacks.
The Orange County airport was incredibly empty. There are three separate terminals, and only the central terminal was open for security; flights and food outlets were quite limited.
That all changed when we boarded our flight, as I would estimate the flight was half to two-thirds full. Interestingly, there was little chatting or the usual banter between passengers. After take-off, the flight attendants were rarely seen. Of course, I realized that this was because currently there is no food service on domestic flights.
Once we landed, exited the flight at DFW, and rode the Skylink to another terminal, I had a chance to chat with a few flight attendants. They shared with me that the passenger load on flights had just started to increase in the last week or two. They had been flying the last three months, but anticipated there would be furloughs after the summer.
Since we had an extra hour on the ground, we made our way to a restaurant and witnessed firsthand physical distancing practices in food establishments. The young host was calm as he let us know our seating options, and we decided to sit at the bar, as we saw two chairs available there. Tables in the restaurant were spaced out farther than usual, and there was no silverware or anything on the tables.
We sat and had an adult beverage and did our people-watching. Of course, we were wearing our masks at all times until our drinks came.
And that’s when I witnessed incredible, gentle kindness.
A 60-something gentleman traveling alone was getting up from the bar and could not find his mask. He was visibly flustered, as it was obvious he would be getting on a flight soon, and a mask would be required. He checked with the bartender, “Did you accidently throw away my mask?” The bartender looked; none of us could find his mask.
Then a 20-something young man came to sit at the bar and could tell the older gentleman was a bit frantic. The 20-something deposited his backpack on a bar chair and said, “What kind of mask do you want?” As he opened his backpack, he pulled out a large sleeve of masks in every style imaginable! There must have been 15 or 20 masks in that clear plastic bag. The 60-something-year-old man was so grateful and picked out the kind of mask he wanted and said thank you. No handshaking, of course. Just big smiles.
I was so struck by the simple kind gesture of that 20-something man. Travel is stressful enough with trying to make connections and getting a quick bite to eat between flights, but in these times of COVID-19 and physical distancing, many people are walking on eggshells. With everyone wearing masks, even if you smile at someone, it is doubtful that they will feel the impact of a smiling face, since our mouths are covered.
But a simple act of selfless kindness goes a long way. And I am hoping that we see more of this in the months to come.
And, about getting on your first airplane after months of not traveling … it’s not so hard. Just prepare (with masks, wipes, snacks and reading). Be kind to your fellow passengers. I do recommend taking a nice hot, soapy shower once you arrive at your destination. You will sleep better knowing that any errant germs are gone!
Ever wonder why some coconuts are white, some are brown, and some don’t look like the tropical coconut emoji at all? Welcome to the ultimate coconut guide. Let us be your tropical tour guide through the wonderful, delicious journey of coconuts.
While the origin of coconuts is debatable, they are thought to have originally come from the beautiful tropical islands along Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. They are one of the most important crops of the tropics. Coconuts have been grown in temperate regions for thousands of years, thriving in sandy soil, and they have recently become quite popular for their flavor, culinary uses and potential health benefits—specifically coconut water. Frieda’s young coconuts are harvested in Thailand, while brown coconuts are harvested in Mexico. The fruit is also grown in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Vietnam and the USA.
Ever think a coconut looks like a little face staring back at you? Well Portuguese explorers thought the same thing! Those three little characteristic eyes looked like a goblin or grinning face, so it is believed that they named it “coco”—the word for goblin. Later the English added the word “nut,” creating the name we know today as coconut.
Interestingly, young coconuts, white coconuts and brown coconuts all come from the same coconut palm, they just differ by stage of maturity! All coconuts contain a husk, which is kind of like the rind of the fruit and under which you can find the delicious meat. The inside features a sweet, drinkable liquid called coconut water (not to be confused with coconut milk). Coconuts are almost the opposite of most table fruits, where the pit is on the inside and the flesh is on the outside. With coconuts, it’s reversed. Now that’s (coco) nuts! Let’s take a closer look to understand what makes them different.
Find your paradise with our favorite coconut! These fruits are harvested young and their green outer skin is pared away to reveal a white cylindrical husk with a pointy, pencil-like tip. Inside the white husk is the familiar round coconut with its hard, fibrous shell—or the nut. They might be a tough cookie to crack, but once you do, you’ll experience the sweet and refreshing water inside. At this stage of maturity, the coconut is mostly water. In fact, young coconuts have the largest amount of water compared to white or brown coconuts, containing up to 10 ounces! Not only is the water a great natural substitute for soft drinks, sugary juices, or sports drink, it is also loaded with electrolytes! Even though young coconuts are mostly filled with water, don’t forget about the yummy meat, which is thin, super soft and silky, almost jelly-like. You can scoop it out with a spoon. These coconuts are best for drinking and are a great source of hydration that can also be used in smoothies, slushies and other tropical drinks.
When shopping for young coconuts, choose heavy coconuts with no cracks, mold or soft wet spots. If you give the young coconut a shake, it shouldn’t slosh much—if any—because you want it to be full of liquid with no air inside.
Not quite sure how to open a coconut? Check out how to open a Frieda’s young coconut here.
The white coconut is a pale cream color with hairy white fibers. As the coconut matures, the meat becomes firmer and the amount of water decreases. But that is not to say that this meat isn’t as delicious as that of a young coconut, and it’s considerably moister and fresher than the meat of the more mature brown coconut. White coconuts often have a floral fragrance. These coconuts are best for cooking, grating the meat into salads or baked goods, or using in curries. Yum!
This is the type of fruit most people think of when they think of coconuts. Just check out the coconut emoji on your phone! As the most mature coconut, these are typically 10-12 months old. The outer shell has a coarse brown hair-like texture and the meat here is so hard you need a sharp knife to chop it. It also has the smallest amount of water because, as the coconut ages, the water is absorbed as the meat thickens. These coconuts are great for making your own coconut milk or as a substitute for packaged shredded coconut when grated.
Benefits and Uses of Coconuts
Coconuts have a host of health benefits, including being a great source of manganese, which is essential for bone health and for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol. Coconuts are also a good source of fiber, which can promote gut health, and they’re a great source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of fatty acid that can help with weight loss (which is why coconuts are super friendly and on-trend with popular high-fat, low-carb diets like keto and paleo). Check out more coconut health benefits here.
Coconuts are truly unique in that they are often associated with indulgent, tropical escapes. As such, they can help turn a regular afternoon in the backyard into a Polynesian getaway! The coconut shell makes an excellent vessel for a drink or slushy. You can also take the meat and make delicious Blood Orange Coconut Yogurt or a Young Coconut Sugar Cream Pie, or use the water for Coconut Yogurt Chia Pudding.
So, as we here at Frieda’s like to say, just add a straw and an umbrella and you too can go “coco” for coconuts!
To check out more of our Ultimate Guides, click here, here and here.
It’s graduation time around the country and many of us are not able to witness that enormous rite of passage—walking across the stage in front of a celebratory crowd to shake hands and receive a diploma in front of family and friends. Whether it’s graduation from middle school, high school or college, it is heartbreaking to some people and families to miss out on the traditional life cycle event.
In contrast, we’ve all seen the “drive by” birthday or special celebrations, where friends and families cruise by the home of the birthday celebrant with posters, honking horns and lots of waves and blowing kisses.
But a college graduation is a really big deal, especially when someone goes back to school to get an advanced degree.
So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I received an email a few weeks ago from my industry friend, Kevin Coupe who is a well-known thought leader in the supermarket and food business at the Morning News Beat. (I had been a guest speaker at a summertime Marketing Business Class he teaches at Portland State University in Oregon a few years ago, and after class we went to dinner. His wife Laura and daughter Allison joined us—we had a fabulous conversation—and Allison and I felt an instant connection. She and I have stayed in touch the last few years via email.)
“So, on Saturday, Allison Joan is supposed to graduate with her masters in special education. But, of course, because of the pandemic, she won’t have a graduation ceremony (which she was looking forward to because she has a 4.0 GPA), so we’re just going to celebrate at home.
So, I have a favor to ask. Would you record a 2-3 minute video commencement address for her that I could play when we’re having dinner on Saturday night? Just words of wisdom … or whatever you want to tell her. I guess what I am hoping for is some advice for going forward … the stuff that I could tell her that she’d never pay attention to because I’m her father. The stuff you’ve learned in your life and career that you’d want someone to tell your daughters.
Thanks… I appreciate it.”
The first thing that I noticed were the words “commencement address.” My heart skipped a beat, as giving a college commencement address has been on my bucket list for almost 10 years! But this wasn’t the type of commencement address I had in mind when I added it to my list. Of course, I replied immediately and told Kevin “yes.” And then I started thinking: what kind of “stuff” had I learned in my life and career that I would want to share with a recent grad?
I made a few notes, then on a Friday morning, while I was working from my home office, I recorded it on my iPhone. As my mom would always say, “Technology is just amazing!” I had watched Kevin’s recordings for many months, and my partner Jack had just done a “happy birthday” message for one of his nieces. I watched how they looked into the camera, how they both made their recordings seem folksy and human, and then, I just did it. No makeup, no special lighting, I was just real and I spoke from my heart.
When I was done, I watched it and then emailed it to Kevin. I heard he received it, but that was it.
Until yesterday’s mail arrived. A handwritten card from Allison:
Words cannot express how touched I was at your contribution to my commencement video. Your words brought tears to my eyes, and it was amazing how appropriate they were—far more than any regular commencement speech could’ve been. I feel like you laid out the challenges and opportunities I will have really well—I’ve spent today making a list of the things I want to accomplish and how to make the days ahead of me my best ones—cause they will be! And I loved the reminder that it’s okay to ask for help and to use my connections to help with success.
The greatest thing is I get to keep the video on my laptop so in moments when I need a little inspiration or encouragement, I’ll be able to turn to you again (and I hope I can reach out in person as well … ). I hope to have dinner again soon! Thank you again!
P.S. Your shirt is the coolest shirt ever!”
Well, talk about making a difference in someone’s life! Check, check, check! I got the chills.
Perhaps there is a lesson here. Maybe one of the gifts of the pandemic is that instead of “being a number” at a graduation, or having to listen to someone you don’t know or have a connection to, there is now an opportunity to make your graduation more personal and full of meaning. Is there a special person in your life who is celebrating a momentous occasion? Don’t be afraid to record a personal message.
A couple of hints that gave me peace of mind in doing this:
If you’d like to see my “First Commencement Address”— here it is!
Onward and upward!