For the past two years, I have spent many hours each week on Zoom. Many of my team members work remotely, and oftentimes I am remote as well. Even when most of us were in the office during the peak of the pandemic, we would meet via videoconference on Zoom to avoid too many (masked) people gathering in a meeting room. Plus, in the nonwork organizations I am involved with, I have attended many board meetings, social gatherings or programs via Zoom.
I admit, Zoom fatigue is real. I always thought that it was the number of hours a day I was on Zoom calls that was causing the fatigue—combined with sitting at my desk chair for all those hours—vs. getting up and walking around between meetings.
Then I discovered the “Hide Self View” feature on Zoom. Did you know that you can hide your own self-view while on a Zoom meeting? It actually changes the entire dynamic of the Zoom experience when you are not staring at yourself all that time! And, of course, I can tell the effect on others who find looking at themselves distracting, as they are constantly adjusting their hair, moving their head to get a better angle of themselves on screen, etc.
Recently, I witnessed that hiding my self-view (even when I am on a one-to-one meeting) allows me to focus on the other person and the content of the meeting. I don’t feel so self-conscious about my hair or how my office background looks. I feel like I am in an actual meeting vs. having a meeting in front of a screen.
Two weeks ago, my business coach shared some astounding information with me after he attended the Wharton Future of Work Conference:
So, in case you are not aware of how to hide your self-view, here is a screenshot:
Try it for a few meetings and take note of your exhaustion levels. Also, when you are onboarding a new team member at your company, include instructions on how to hide self-view during Zoom meetings, as it will likely improve their user experience.
If you do not use Zoom, but instead use Microsoft Teams or other video conferencing tools where you cannot hide your self-view, try this pro tip I received from a candidate I interviewed earlier this week: put a Post-it on your computer screen to cover your own self-view. She told me it has the same positive effect!
So, as I get ready for another round of Zoom meetings, I feel less stressed because I know how to minimize the Zoom fatigue. Please let me know what your experience is after you try this tip! It may be a game-changer!
A few weeks ago, I attended the inaugural Executive Leadership Summit for the newly formed International Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh Produce Association and Produce Marketing Association merged as of January 1, 2022, and this was their official “launch event” as a single entity).
It was an invitation-only event and about 150 produce industry leaders attended. Young and old. Growers and distributors. Men and women representing all aspects of the food supply chain.
As with all mergers (whether non-profit or for-profit entities), there is a better chance of success if the merging of cultures is the highest priority. Everything gets done through people … and I’ve heard that more than 75% of all mergers fail due to a lack of alignment in culture. So, as an active industry member, I am optimistic of this merger’s success, as great care has been taken in merging staff, locations and priorities.
During this event, they reiterated the top four priorities for this merged association:
It was the last priority that really got my attention. The luncheon speaker was an energetic chef-turned-evangelist for reducing nutrition insecurity. You’ve probably heard of food insecurity—lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable food. What Chef Michel Nischan shared with us is the organization he started in 2007, Wholesome Wave, whose mission is to reduce nutrition insecurity. Nutrition insecurity is that state of not having access to nutritious food.
Quoting from the “What We Do” page of their website:
Food insecurity is about providing enough food to those in need. Nutrition insecurity is about providing the right food to prevent or alleviate diet-related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and obesity. With studies showing that diet-related diseases like diabetes and obesity are driving the highest hospitalization and death rates from COVID-19, it is now more important than ever to address nutrition insecurity head-on.
Michel co-founded this organization to address diet-related diseases by helping low-income Americans buy and eat healthy fruits and veggies. Most of us have heard about introducing fresh fruits and veggies to young children when their palates are young and their minds impressionable, hopefully creating positive eating and shopping habits for a lifetime. But we often forget that fresh produce is not always the most affordable food. Readymade pizza, pasta, fast food and other high-fat and high-carb foods are oftentimes the cheapest way to feed a family.
But, the long-term effect on one’s health, and the cost of health care that comes with those food choices, is not easy to understand. But all you have to do is look at the obesity map of the United States to see the impact, Adult Obesity in the U.S.:
So, what made Michel’s talk so exciting to me was his mention of “Food as Medicine.” I smiled when he said those words, food as medicine. Because more than 30 years ago, in the mid-1980s, I recall giving presentations and speeches with that title and talking about the health benefits of many of our specialties (like fresh turmeric and ginger).
Michel previewed for us two commercials which he produced highlighting a future when doctors would write prescriptions for fresh produce. Check out these two: one for broccoli and one for tomatoes.
(Plus, there’s a bonus audio commercial for bananas!) Listen here:
Nothing would make me happier than to know that physicians get adequate and ongoing nutritional education, so that when a patient has serious health concerns, the doctors’ first discussion is about the benefits of eating a primarily plant-based, fresh food diet—that they write a prescription for fresh produce.
All I can think about is the long-term effects these produce prescriptions will have on our health care system, our longevity, our well-being and the planet. And our happiness. I guess that’s why when I am eating crunchy fresh vegetables or sweet fresh fruit that I feel happy!
Springtime brings that general feeling of refresh and renewal, and for me that means spring cleaning and handling odds and ends.
Because I am new to the area where I live, I asked my neighbor for a recommendation for a handyman. I had set the appointment weeks in advance, which led me to believe that he’s fairly busy—a good sign.
After taking time to carefully compile a long list, last week was finally the time to meet handyman Sean. I had never worked with him before, but in less than four hours Sean had completed my long things-to-do list. I was impressed.
Even more impressive was that as he was walking through the house, he made his own list of “future projects” he could assist with another time. Wow, talk about thinking like the customer! As I was writing him a check, he said, “I made some notes of little things around the house I could help you with. And, for the scratches on your walls, I suggest you go to Target or Lowe’s and pick up a box of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.”
Never heard of them. I wrote it down.
A few days later, I was shopping in Nordstrom and went to the shoe department. I asked the department manager if he had anything to take the dark marks off my white-soled sneakers. He told me, “You should just go to Target and buy those Mr. Clean Magic Erasers—they will do the trick!”
Wow, two identical, independent recommendations for the same product.
So, off I went to Target.
Ladies and gentlemen, I might possibly be the only person on the planet who has never heard of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, but I am telling you—they are amazing! With a little water, I was able to get all the scratches off the walls in my kitchen. I kept going and did some of the cabinets as well. This morning, before putting on my scuffed-up, white-soled sneakers, I grabbed a Magic Eraser and cleaned them too.
As they say, it’s the little things. I hope that if you haven’t heard of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers that you will buy a box for yourself soon. They will change your life … especially since it is spring cleaning time!
Los Alamitos, CA (March 2021) – It’s a special time for Frieda’s Branded Produce, as we are celebrating 60 years in business! In 1962, our late, fearless founder Frieda Rapoport Caplan embraced the mission to advocate for the unspoken fruits and vegetables of the world—like spaghetti squash, dragon fruit, and the landmark item that put Frieda’s on the map nationwide—kiwifruit.
Frieda’s made major headway in the industry during the ‘60’s with the bold move of labeling produce with a sticker containing a coinciding recipe. Frieda did this to entice shoppers to try and purchase produce that was unfamiliar to them at first glance. “We were the first to not only label our products, but because there was some empty space on the first label, my mom decided to offer free recipes to the consumer by asking them to send us a self-addressed stamped envelope with ideas,” says Frieda’s CEO Karen Caplan. “Never could she imagine that more than 300-500 individual shoppers would write to us for recipes every week! I know this happened, as answering those letters was my first job! This was before the internet, so Frieda’s became the trusted source for recipes and information to shoppers for new and exotic produce.”
Sixty years later, we are still carrying out our mission of inspiring healthy, colorful, and delicious eating by educating consumers and the industry on how to enjoy unique produce. The number 60 has also taken on special meaning to us lately. Based on a C&R omnibus research survey of 1,000 people in partnership with Frieda’s, 60% of shoppers are saying that Frieda’s branded produce is: 1) more likely to catch their eye in stores, 2) contains the most appealing names, and 3) has the most up-to-date branding versus the leading specialty produce competitor.* “Consumers are telling us that our packaging looks better than ever, and our research shows that shoppers are willing to pay more for our items vs. the competition,” says Alex Jackson, Frieda’s director of sales. “Not only does that help bring your produce department to life, but it also translates into higher sales per square foot for our retail clients.”
In honor of our 60-year anniversary, we have released a celebration-worthy bespoke birthday cake recipe that features some of our most exclusive and favorite items like Popjoys® kumquats, Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, and Frieda’s pink lemons.
We’d love to hear from you with your favorite memories of Frieda and Frieda’s! Share them with us on social media today on Instagram and Facebook to help us celebrate 60 years of sweet.
Sourcing: *C&R omnibus 1,000 person survey study, Winter of 2022
Los Alamitos, CA (March 2021) – As we continue to celebrate women’s history month this March, Frieda’s has chosen to revisit the Produce Portrait series created last year as a way to honor women trailblazers, like our very own Frieda Rapoport Caplan. In 2021 we highlighted a few amazing women—the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, poet laureate Amanda Gorman and our founder the late Frieda Rapoport Caplan—in a colorful portrait format embellished with fresh produce.
This year the Frieda’s team has decided to highlight artist and creator Frida Kahlo. Beyond the obvious sharing of a namesake, Kahlo was selected because of her ability to bend what was considered the “norm.” Kahlo’s uncompromising-yet-brilliant art touched on identity, human body, and activism. Beyond her work, she was an icon throughout the 20th century as she forged new definitions of sexual identity, gender roles, and overall expression for women in that time. Because, of course, normal is boring.
Kahlo’s iconic look was brought to life by watermelon radishes, colored cauliflower, popjoys® kumquats, pink lemons, shallots, kiwi berries, ghost peppers, mahana™ ginger and baby friseè.
“When our team was brainstorming this piece of work, we were inspired to pair Frieda’s impact with someone who empowered women to change their mindset of what ‘normal’ meant. Kahlo created many self-portraits, which expressed her individuality—celebrating self-love. Her work often featured flowers, bold colors and even fruit. We hoped to capture her creative essence, style and unique look through this produce portrait,” says Lourdes Narvaez, Frieda’s senior creative manager and creator of the produce portraits. “Both Frida and Frieda refused to be ordinary, and that’s what Frieda’s and our produce portrait series is all about.”
There are many (dare we say all?) women to celebrate this month. From every female making a difference in the produce industry, to the fearless female business and political leaders creating new definitions of success, to the mothers out there raising children that will define future generations, Frieda’s salutes you! Cheers to all the successes that come your way!
Instagram – www.instagram.com/friedasproduce
Facebook – www.facebook.com/friedasbrandedproduce
Los Alamitos, CA (March 2022) – March marks the beginning of women’s history month, a way to pause and take note of the important contributions women have made in our world. How many women do you know who have influenced you to step out of your comfort zone or try something new?
This month, honor a woman in your life by gifting her Try It! How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat to share with a child or grandchild. This fun and engaging children’s book encourages the youngest consumers to try new things—just like Frieda did when introducing specialty produce items to the market.
In its first year on the market, Try It! has been named one of the Top 10 children’s books of 2021 by Smithsonian Magazine, which promotes selections that teach important life lessons.
“Frieda Caplan isn’t a household name, and yet for all the produce that might be in your house thanks to her—kiwi, spaghetti squash, baby carrots, sugar snap peas—it should be!” notes Smithsonian Magazine’s senior editor Megan Gambino. “While many titles that fall in this subgenre of children’s books can be overburdened with facts, this one stays light and lively, as [Mara] Rockliff tells the story of how Caplan introduced grocers—and therefore, consumers—to offerings more exotic than the usual apples, bananas, potatoes and tomatoes.”
The book has also recently received a 2021 EUREKA! Honor Award for nonfiction children’s books from the California Reading Association, which strives to guide parents and teachers in finding a variety of genres for their kids to explore.
Try It! offers a way to celebrate new experiences and encourages kids, who are often picky eaters, to step out of their comfort zone and try a new food.
Gift a book this month in celebration of women who have made an impact on the way we eat today. Or, in honor of Frieda—whose company celebrates 60 years this year—buy a few copies to donate to a school library or use them as a promotion tool in your produce department.