Los Alamitos, CA (June 2022) – The highly coveted, always anticipated Angelcot® season has begun, and this year we celebrate the labor of love that gives this unique varietal its rosy glow. Grown in Brentwood, CA, this crown jewel of the stone fruit season does not spend much time on the store shelf.
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—the telltale sign that you are about to eat an Angelcot® instead of a regular old apricot.
“There are many reasons consumers love the Angelcot®,” shared Alex Jackson, director of sales for Frieda’s Branded Produce. “From the delicate blush color this fruit adds to any Instagram feed, to its sweet taste, the Angelcot® is at the top of consumer’s stone fruit must-eat list this summer.”
Unique tarping and reflection of the sun helps to form the angelic blushing that makes this apricot so special. Grown exclusively for Frieda’s by a family-owned, 3rd-generation business, this seasonal specialty can be enjoyed chilled, grilled or simply out of hand.
The sweeter flavor profile of this bite-sized stone fruit makes Angelcot® the perfect variety to introduce to younger shoppers. Promote them for snacking, baking, salads, or curate your own beautiful charcuterie board with other seasonal fruits and honey. The crop is limited and mostly pre-booked, so act now and 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.
Almost 250 years ago, our forefathers and foremothers fought for our nations’ freedom. As we head into the July 4th weekend, and with the Supreme Court Dobbs case last week overturning the 50-year-old landmark Roe v Wade case, there are many people (both women and men) who are having legitimate concerns about whether there is true freedom in the United States.
I was just graduating from high school in 1973, the year of Roe v Wade, so this landmark case is the only thing I’ve ever known. Women having federal protection and the freedom to make decisions about their own bodies is all I have ever known, and the only thing my two daughters and their friends have ever known.
It is quite alarming to consider the implications of this ruling. The ruling has pushed the issue back to the state level. Living in California, I’m far less likely to see this decision roll back; therefore, my concern goes out to the citizens living in states where rulings are already shifting away from women’s reproductive rights. This ruling largely affects minority groups in America, especially those with limited support systems.
So, I had to do, what I have found myself doing in the last few years, when confronted with difficult times and decisions. I channel my inner “Frieda”. My mom, Frieda always provided a sensible reaction in challenging times. Born in 1923, her own parents escaped to the U.S. from Russia after WWI, seeking freedom and independence. During college, she witnessed the horrific scenes unfolding for her Japanese American friends after the Pearl Harbor attack, as they were sent to internment camps solely because of their heritage.
Right now, my mom would have emphasized the importance of being an active citizen. Don’t sit on the sidelines.
Register to vote. Get your friends to register to vote. Support experienced and existing organizations doing the hard work. Offer to drive people to polling places on election day, so they can vote. Make donations to candidates in other states who support the same issues which are important to you, so more like-minded people will be elected to the US Congress and Senate.
I am reminded of a quote from my all-time favorite movie, “The American President”, starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening:
“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say ‘You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, and who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.’ You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.”
On this Independence Day weekend, I challenge each of us to make a list of 5-10 things we can do in the weeks and months to come to make sure our voice is heard, and to support the companies and organizations who support freedom. My hats are off to companies like Kroger, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Apple who are already taking a stand to voice their support for freedom.
And of course, I’ll be wearing red, white and blue all weekend to be a visible beacon of freedom. How about you?
This week is the summer solstice, and for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the longest day of the year. It is the unofficial launch of summer … and it makes me think of my two favorite, sweet summer fruits. Ironically, they are available around the longest day of the year—for a very SHORT amount of time. I think that plays into making them even more delectable.
Angelcots are a white-fleshed apricot grown in a small valley in northern California. You may be saying to yourself, “the only apricots I’ve ever had are dried, orange and kind of chewy.” Or, you may have had them from a can in syrup. That’s not what I’m talking about.
Traditional and dried apricots aren’t even remotely the same as the amazing white-fleshed heavenly apricots that are my favorite—thus the name, “Angel”cots. When our grower, Marty Maggiore, a second-generation farmer from Brentwood, Calif., first contacted us, we fell in love with him. He’s a true farmer, a little rough around the edges but passionate about his product. He grows three main products—sweet corn, cherries and Angelcots®—a trifecta of produce items that Mother Nature likes to fiddle with! Sweet corn success depends on heat coming at the right time … sweet cherries are susceptible to rain and hail … and both have a short window in late June and early July for peak season. You have to be a special, patient kind of person to be a farmer of such crops—and Marty is just that guy.
The sweet, small Angelcots Marty grows ripen on the tree and are always ready for harvest right at the peak of corn and cherry season. Poor Marty, he always has to scramble for labor to harvest his crops. (And often about the time the Angelcot fruit has set and there are small buds, we get a windstorm that blows a lot of the fruit off the trees.)
Well, this year, we lucked out! For the first time since we’ve been working together (more than 10 years now), we have a bumper crop! I am so excited to get to sample these Angelcots—they’re so juicy and flavorful that retail buyers literally stand in line to reserve the fruit before harvest.
Lychee Nuts (aka Litchi) are another unique taste sensation. They’re one of those fruits that we first started selling almost 40 years ago. I know this because our original lychee grower from Mexico—Gaspar—is still one of our suppliers! Gaspar started out as an eye doctor in Mexico but his family grew lychees. Way back then in the early 1980s, he flew to Los Angeles to meet with the only person who would talk to new growers of exotic fruits … my mother Frieda Caplan! We used to fly hundreds of boxes of his fruit during the only month fresh fruit was available—June. Last month we had a Zoom call with Gaspar, and it was so fun to be smiling at each other and reminiscing about his first visit to meet my mom at the L.A. Wholesale Produce Market. I had my eldest daughter Alex on the Zoom call with me and Gaspar had his son and daughter-in-law with him. It was truly a family affair!
Perhaps you have never tasted fresh lychee. Many people tell me the only lychee they’ve ever had is canned lychee that they get as dessert at a Chinese restaurant! All I can say is there is nothing like fresh lychee. As I walked our warehouse earlier this week, I snuck a few pieces of the fresh, spiky fruit and ate them over a trash can (as they are so juicy, you are literally covered in lychee juice as you peel the outside red skin and eat the translucent, white flesh). The super-sweet, tropical flavor is unmatched this time of year.
To grab a taste of these super-seasonal, limited summer fruits, you’ll need to hit the local stores just in time for July 4th weekend to stock up. Buyer’s tip—if you are a Costco shopper, you should find our lychee in most Costco warehouses nationwide. The season is short, so grab them when you see them! For Angelcots, stores like Sprouts, Whole Foods and Kroger will have them nationwide.
I’d love it if you discover ways to experience these fleeting summer fruits. Let me know if your Angelcot and lychee experiences are as juicy and delicious as mine.
Los Alamitos, CA (May 2022) – Summer is just about here! Hiking by a mountain-rimmed lake– yes! Beachside surfing–yes! Theme parks galore–yes! There’s no need to settle for just one favorite, as this is the summer of AND! So, say YES to carrying both of these tropical favorites—lychees AND rambutans—together this season.
Limited-edition lychees from Mexico are here and this year the crop is looking better than ever with deep-red skin, bright, crisp flesh AND sweet floral notes-YUM! The crop of Rambas® Rambutans has already made it to market, and these juicy tricksters (which are larger than lychees) are rambunctious on the outside AND sweet on the inside, with tart notes that balance the sweetness.
You don’t have to choose one over the other—embrace the summer of Yes…AND! This year carry Rambas® Rambutans alongside lychees for the season. In fact, on average, retailers that carried both lychees and rambutans at the same time sold 70% more dollars per store vs retailers that carried just one of these items. These retailers sold three times more units and saw almost 90% growth across these items over the previous year, compared to retailers that only carried one of the two tropical fruits (who saw a sales growth of only 26% over the previous year).*
“Lychees and rambutans make a powerful statement together and act as a draw for shoppers that may be hunting for something new to try,” says Alex Jackson, director of sales for Frieda’s Branded Produce. “Just like carrying multiple colors of grapes or several kinds of berries, when shoppers see a display of rambutans and lychees, they are more likely to pick up both—which drives the increase in total units per store per week.”
Frieda’s has these spiky fruits in stock and is ready to take your summer tropical orders. Call your account manager today for samples, while they last.
*source: MULO 8 Weeks ending 7-25-21. Comparison across group of retailers that carried both rambutans and lychees during the same weeks vs group of retailers that only carried one or the other.
LOS ALAMITOS, CA (May 2022) — Togetherness has taken on a whole new meaning over the past few years, and the special bond that moms share with their families is one to celebrate. A well-crafted brunch can be simple and satisfying this Mother’s Day, highlighting how much we appreciate everything moms do.
This year, make your store the crêpes destination by creating endcaps and displays that transform your store into a turn-key brunch destination. Include Frieda’s French Style Crêpes, spring vegetables like asparagus and bell peppers, and a variety of specialty cheeses to help shoppers answer, “How should we celebrate mom?”
“When I think about the perfect Mother’s Day food, I think easy, loving and delicious. My kids want to feel like they ‘made’ something, but sometimes that can lead to bigger messes to clean up,” says Cindy Sherman, director of marketing and innovation at Frieda’s Brand Produce. “One way we get around this is with Frieda’s French Style Breakfast Crêpes. My husband can whip up a batch of scrambled eggs, and the kids can wrap them up in the crepes and pile on toppings like ripe avocados, sliced apples, Brie cheese, and more.”
This year, it’s all about embracing togetherness. Let the Frieda’s team work with you to create excitement in your stores, because moms (and truly all of us) deserve some additional flair this spring. Here’s to moms everywhere!
About Frieda’s Inc.
Frieda’s Branded 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 the late produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the 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.
Wow—it’s been almost 25 years since my dad passed away. Like most of us, I had a little bit of a love/hate relationship with my dad. He was great in so many ways and a really tough dad in other ways.
But, as the saying goes, it turns out he was the perfect dad for me.
My dad Alfred H. Caplan was born in 1918 in Chicago. He grew up during the Great Depression. He never graduated from high school, and actually caught a freight train from Chicago at age 13 and made his way to Los Angeles. As a minor, he lied about his age so he could enlist in the Marines.
My dad was truly a self-made man, full of determination. After the Marines, he went to work for the Longshoremen’s union (today called the International Longshoremen’s Association) and became a shop steward. Along the way, he was a truck driver. Through all that, he developed compassion for people, which is why he spent part of his early career being a union negotiator representing workers. As my parents told the story, there wasn’t a lot of money to be made working for the union, so he “switched sides” and started his own business as a labor relations consultant, representing management. He ended up receiving much recognition for his thought leadership from the scrap iron and metal industries, which comprised most of his clients.
He also represented farmers. In fact, it was my father who negotiated on behalf of most of the California table grape growers when they signed their first agreement with the United Farm Workers (UFW) and Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in 1970.
I share this background because most people know about my mom’s history, but few know about my dad. My dad’s roots were in the working class. He could relate to them; they could relate to him. He valued an education because he never got a formal secondary education (he got a GED in the Marines because he never finished high school).
Not surprisingly, he was a cigarette and cigar smoker. And an alcoholic. But the day his first granddaughter was born in August 1964, he quit smoking and drinking cold turkey. He wanted to be around to see his kids and grandkids grow up. He became a fanatic about exercise (envision watching Jack LaLanne calisthenics on TV every morning), and adopted an incredibly restrictive, healthy diet from that point forward. He lived a full life, and passed away at the age of 79, in 1998.
As I look back to my childhood and think about the person I became and the life lessons I learned from my dad, I find it prophetic:
I learned a lot from my dad about things to do, and not to do, when raising my own two daughters.
We each develop our own style when raising kids. And I’ve noticed that many of us chose to be the opposite of our own parents. As we are coming up on this weekend of celebrating Father’s Day, I want to make a suggestion.
No one had the perfect father. We all had imperfect fathers. So, perhaps a little forgiveness is in order, or at least a little understanding.
After so many years, I’ve realized that my dad was the perfect dad for me. Because he was the way he was, I turned out to be the way I am.
And that’s what I will be telling myself this Sunday when I think about my dad and all the fathers I know.
Hope you all have a pleasant Father’s Day!
Last week, I received a text from my dear friend Paula. Paula and I met on our first day of high school and have remained good friends ever since. Even after she and her husband Dave moved to Arizona a few years ago, we have found time to keep in touch and get together regularly. Here is the text I received:
“I received a call on Sunday notifying me that my (65-year-old) brother was found dead in his condo the day before. I am heartbroken and overwhelmed. It was unexpected, and I spent the last few days trying to figure out what happened and how to move forward. We don’t even know if he had a will and haven’t found one, so are trying to find a probate attorney … and a realtor …”
Heartbreaking, for sure. When a dear friend or relative experiences a loss like this, you can feel helpless. I do not wish that on anyone.
And that is why, after reading this article, I copied and distributed it to my kids. “Three Documents Your Kids Should Sign Before Leaving for College” was a perfectly timed reminder that I want to shout from the rooftops to all my friends and family that the greatest gift you can give to your family and heirs is to plan ahead.
It is relatively easy to create a:
1. Durable power of attorney
2. Advanced health care directive
3. HIPAA authorization
Yes, it forces you to think about your own mortality. I say this from personal experience, as it took me a woefully long time before I created my own living trust (my kids were already grown), which included a durable power of attorney, my advanced health care directive and HIPAA authorization.
It was unexpected three years ago when my mother Frieda fell and broke her leg at age 95. Thankfully, my mom was very thorough and responsible—she had already given my sister Jackie and me all of these documents for her, plus we were already signatories on all her bank accounts. At first when she approached us (more than 10 years ago) about adding our names to all her accounts and showing us all her home office files, it felt kind of creepy. Like, I didn’t want her to think that we wanted her to become incapacitated.
But, as usually happens, it was a freak accident that caused Jackie and I to “jump into action” and take care of everything for her.
So, how about you? And how about your kids? If your kids are college age, if something happens to them (like a car accident, drug overdose or other incident), without the above three forms, you will not be able to help them easily. And you will not have access to any of their accounts. And the same applies for you. If something happens to you, wouldn’t you want to have your spouse or family member be able to jump into action and know how to access all your passwords, direct your doctors, pay your bills, etc.?
The easiest way to do this is to locate a local estate planning attorney and pay a relatively small amount of money to get these basic documents in order.
My wish is that you never have to experience what my friend Paula is going through. So, take action now to plan ahead.
I’ve heard the saying “what gets measured, gets done” so many times that it subconsciously drives my life. I had a quick reminder of that earlier this week.
My partner Jack and I both use physical month-at-a-glance calendars to keep track of our physical goals and accomplishments. It starts in the month of December, when we both create our personal goals for the next year. The goals include many physical goals (weight, nightly hours of sleep, hours of exercise, resting heart rate, etc.) plus bucket-list and personal goals (# of rounds of golf, # of books read, and more).
On the first day of each month, we each tally our previous month and then sit down together after dinner to see how we did. We compare it to last year’s numbers, and then talk honestly about how we feel about the previous month. I know this may sound a little crazy and neurotic, but stick with me on this one.
This past Wednesday evening, we reviewed May’s calendar. It was disappointing for both of us. With Jack’s Keytruda cancer treatment, his endurance and stamina have definitely declined in the last 11 months. Thankfully, his final infusion will be on June 28 (yeah!) and we hope within a few months that his athletic energy will start to come back. But what was interesting was that my own performance metrics declined as well.
This May, my total exercise hours for the month was 13.5 hours (less than 30 minutes a day) vs. last May, which was close to an hour a day. And, I noticed a change in the one metric which I believe is the best indicator of my total health—my resting heart rate, which has risen from 63 in January to 67 in May.
So why is all of this measuring important, and does it make a difference in the quality of my life?
Long before Jack, I started daily vigorous exercise, because my doctor told me I needed to do cardio exercise “every day, for at least 30-75 minutes a day.” The most significant way it helped me was in dealing with the stress of human life. Whether it was pressure from work, family or my social circle, taking time to do vigorous exercise every day seemed to de-stress me. It was alone time for me, and because I took my iPad with me to the gym, I got to watch fun shows on Netflix or HBO. I literally got to check out from my regular life and take a break.
After six months of daily exercise (which also allowed me to sleep better at night, and eat a bit healthier), the doctor noted that I had lost about 5% of my body weight. It was a great feeling. But I wasn’t keeping track of exactly what I did … it was anecdotal.
So, two-and-a-half years ago, I made a list of what I felt were reasonable health and fitness goals—and what I could measure to help me accomplish them. My first draft of my goals was completely unrealistic. For example, I wrote down that I wanted to walk 10,000 steps a day. I thought that was a reasonable goal, since I’ve heard so many people talk about that number. Jack pointed out to me that if I have periodic travel, business trips, evening dinners, and full days of work, that reaching an average of 10,000 steps a day was a goal that I likely would not reach. And then I would feel defeated and disappointed in myself. So, he encouraged me to set my goal at 8,000 daily steps on average, which by the way, is 2.9 million steps for the year. That’s a lot of steps!
Lo and behold, I felt a sense of accomplishment when I exceeded my 8,000-step goal on a regular basis.
We can all be our biggest critic. In this case, my biggest lesson was to set myself up for success. Don’t be so hard on myself. Perhaps that is why New Year’s resolutions are so rarely accomplished, and most are discarded by February.
So, think about your own goals and what is really important to you. Perhaps it is taking one mini-vacation every quarter (that’s on my list). Or maybe it is learning a new sport (like golf or pickleball). What are sub-goals that will help you get there (pick a destination for your vacations and figure out what weekends will work, or find the closest pickleball court and find a friend to play with)? Then set a small goal to help it happen (plan to play once a month to see if you like it).
Here are some of the things I measure to improve my quality of life:
So how about you? Are you looking to feel good physically and mentally? Are you looking to change it up a bit? How about making your own short list of health and well-being goals? And come up with a reasonable list of things to track (maybe 4-5). Find a way to track them daily and then, at the end of each month, do a check in with yourself (or get an accountability partner, which is always helpful).
I would love to hear what you’re tracking and doing, and if it’s helping your mood overall. Please do share!