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

Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan became the first woman in the U.S. to own and operate a produce company on the all-male L.A. Wholesale Produce Market in the spring of 1962. She began with buying and selling unusual items (at the time) like brown mushrooms, Sunchokes® and spaghetti squash. She then imported the first load of fuzzy, brown kiwifruit from New Zealand (originally named Chinese gooseberries), kick-starting her lifelong career of introducing over 200 fruits and vegetables to American supermarkets. Though not coming into the office every day, her passion for Frieda’s remains as strong as always, keeping abreast of the company’s endeavors and, most importantly, its people.

KAREN

Co-owner, president & CEO of Frieda’s, Karen Caplan is the eldest daughter of Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan. Her passion for produce was cultivated at a young age, which she explored at UC Davis, earning a B.S. in Agricultural Economics & Business Management. She has served on numerous boards in leadership positions, including the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, the Federal Reserve Bank board, Los Angeles branch, Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and the Dean’s Advisory Council at Cal Poly Pomona. A leader with a heart, Karen keeps a strong connection with fellow industry members. 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?

JACKIE

Co-owner, vice president & 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 Produce Industry Leadership Program in 1995. She has received several recognitions for her achievements in the industry, such as the 2014 Timothy Vaux Outstanding Alumni Leadership Award and the Women of Influence award by the Shelby Report & The Packer 25 – Profiles in Leadership. She has also served on the Produce Marketing Association’s Convention Exposition Committee, on the main board of the United Fresh Produce Association and more recently as the Chair of the United Wholesaler Distributor board.

ALEX

The eldest daughter of Frieda’s Specialty Produce CEO Karen Caplan, Sales Manager Alex Berkley joined the family business in 2011, making Frieda’s a three-generation family business success story. In 2014, Alex was the youngest person to be accepted to the United Fresh Leadership Program class at age 24. Later that year, she earned a certificate of Produce Executive Development from Cornell University. Then, in 2017, Alex was named one of the 40 under 40 by Produce Business Magazine for her success and leadership in the industry. Alex has served as a member of the Produce Marketing Association’s Women’s Fresh Perspectives Advisory Committee and was co-chair from 2015–2017.

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