Our Story

gooseberries & gumption

Grace, stick-to-itiveness, and a desire to do the right thing made our trailblazing founder as unique as the produce she sold. When Frieda first introduced the Chinese Gooseberry to the U.S. in 1962 people thought she was crazy. With a nod to the fuzzy bird from New Zealand she renamed it the “Kiwifruit,” and the rest they say is history. You can now find Kiwifruit in almost every supermarket, along with countless other exotic fruits and vegetables Frieda’s has introduced over the years. To learn more about how we’ve helped transform American cuisine, check out our documentary.

Our Story

gooseberries & gumption

Grace, stick-to-itiveness, and a desire to do the right thing made our trailblazing founder as unique as the produce she sold. When Frieda first introduced the Chinese Gooseberry to the U.S. in 1962 people thought she was crazy. With a nod to the fuzzy bird from New Zealand she renamed it the “Kiwifruit,” and the rest they say is history. You can now find Kiwifruit in almost every supermarket, along with countless other exotic fruits and vegetables Frieda’s has introduced over the years. To learn more about how we’ve helped transform American cuisine, check out our documentary.

Introduced to the United States by Frieda’s

1962

Kiwifruit

1965

Sunchokes®

1972

Jicama

1975

Spaghetti Squash

1983

Starfruit

1994

Dragonfruit

2011

Ghost Peppers

2012

Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes

2019

Lemonade Lemons

Our Family

shining in our own way

Just like our products, we’re different. We like to zig when others zag. We don’t see obstacles. We work hard, play fair and laugh a lot. We’re bold. We take pride in helping people eat healthier. We’re a 3rd generation female-owned family business operating in a male-dominated industry. We love challenges. And we refuse to be ordinary.

The Women of Frieda's

FRIEDA

“Success came because I never saw obstacles,” says Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan in the 2015 documentary film “Fear No Fruit” about her life as a produce industry trailblazer. Frieda chose not to see any obstacles in 1962 when she became the first woman in the U.S. to own and operate a produce company on the all-male Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market. She saw no roadblocks when she began buying and selling then unusual and new-to-market specialties like brown mushrooms, Sunchokes, and spaghetti squash. She feared no fruit when she brought the first load of fuzzy brown kiwifruit in from New Zealand. That grit and determination earned Frieda the title “Queen of Kiwifruit” for her successful introduction of kiwifruit to the American market. Now in her 90s, Frieda still comes to the office four days a week.

KAREN

Co-owner, president, and CEO of Frieda’s, Karen is the eldest daughter of Frieda's founder Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan. She was the first female chairperson of the United Fresh Produce Association and the first female president of the Southern California-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council. She has served on numerous boards and leadership positions, including as chairman and vice chairman of the USDA Fruit & Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee and board member of the Federal Reserve Bank, Los Angeles branch, and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. Karen currently serves on the boards of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, CSU-Cal Poly Pomona Dean’s Advisory Board, and UC Davis Agricultural Issues Center. She is also the current president of The Trusteeship, the Southern California chapter of the International Women’s Forum. Karen is a frequent keynote speaker and panelist on leadership, innovation, and produce trends. She also writes a weekly blog, “What’s on Karen’s Plate?”. Karen graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics and Business Management.

JACKIE

Co-owner, vice president, and COO of Frieda’s, Jackie Caplan Wiggins is the youngest daughter of Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan. Jackie was in the inaugural class of the United Fresh Produce Association’s Produce Industry Leadership Program in 1995, and in 2014 she received the Timothy Vaux Outstanding Alumni Leadership Award, which honors individual graduates of the program. In 2017 she was selected as one of the Women of Influence by the Shelby Report and the Packer 25 – Profiles in Leadership. Jackie has served on the Produce Marketing Association’s Convention Exposition Committee, and has served on the board of United Fresh’s Educational Foundation. She is currently a board member of United Fresh and chair of its Wholesaler-Distributor Board. Jackie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University and is a breast cancer survivor (2011) and mentor to other women in various stages of their diagnosis.

ALEX

The eldest daughter of Frieda’s Specialty Produce CEO Karen Caplan, and the granddaughter of founder Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, Alex Berkley joined the company in 2011 after graduating from George Mason University, making Frieda’s a three-generation family-business success story. In 2014 at age 24, Alex was the youngest produce professional to be accepted into the United Fresh Leadership Program Class. That same year, Alex earned a certificate of Produce Executive Development from Cornell University’s Food Industry Management Program. In 2017, Alex was named one of the “40 Under 40” by Produce Business Magazine for her success and leadership in the produce industry. Alex served as a member of the Produce Marketing Association’s Women’s Fresh Perspectives Advisory Committee and was co-chair from 2015 to 2017. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Westerly School of Long Beach, a California K-8 non-denominational private school.

SOPHIA

The youngest daughter of Frieda’s CEO Karen Caplan and granddaughter of founder Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, Sophia Jackson has always been passionate about creating and sharing food experiences. After graduating from The New School in New York City in 2015, she joined UK-based G’s Fresh, the largest vegetable grower in Europe, as an intern and a brand ambassador. Sophia traveled through the UK and Spain, performing marketing and consumer research. Upon her return to the US in 2016, Sophia worked for the multi-national pharmaceutical company Allergan in the marketing and communications department. In 2017, she returned to Frieda’s first as a sales and merchandising specialist, and then as a marketing associate, managing all marketing projects including trade shows and consumer relations. Sophia lives in Los Alamitos with the best roommate in the world, her grandmother Frieda.

Our Commitment

sharing and caring

Caring for our environment and our community is the least we can do seeing as how it has given so much to us. It’s why we’re so driven to reduce our carbon footprint and partner with farmers who hold themselves to the highest standards for sustainability and food safety. Our weekly donations to local food banks help fight hunger in our community. And our contributions to programs like the Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship Program and Earth University are paving the way for the future generation. Whether it’s for the planet or the people, at Frieda’s, we’re all in.  

Our Promise

access to the extraordinary

Weird, exotic, funky, cool, unusual, unique... there are a lot of different ways to describe our products, perhaps the most apt being extraordinary. Our products go beyond the ordinary, not just in their presentation, origin and taste but also in their quality and consistency. If a fruit or vegetable lives under the Frieda’s name you can trust that it’s the best mother nature has to offer. 

Our Mission