Last week we went on a long-planned mini-vacation to northern California. Because our drive to Carmel was a long one (350 miles), we had to borrow a gas-powered car to make the drive (another unintended consequence of purchasing an all-electric car, is that my car’s range is only 200 miles before it requires a 12-hour charge).

The trip didn’t start as a “vacation” … my partner Jack had three speaking gigs (two virtual and one live) in the Monterey area, and we decided to add a few days to the trip and play several rounds of golf. So we packed up our golf clubs and road trip snacks (Kumquats being my go to) and hit the road!

About four years ago I purchased a set of golf clubs and started taking lessons. I blogged about “The Zen of Golf” and shared some of the lessons I learned. One of the silver linings of COVID in 2020 was that playing golf outdoors was one of the few things that did not stop during the various “lockdowns,” so about six months ago, I decided to make the time to get better at golf. Jack and I golf once a week, plus I have taken a few more lessons from our local golf pro.

So now I had the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone (which includes playing only on my home course each week) to play golf at the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links in Carmel, CA. To say I was a bit nervous/excited/apprehensive would be an understatement.

Pebble Beach is one of several courses in the area that is rated quite difficult and, of course, is where the legendary AT&T Pro-am Golf Tournament takes place every year. The grounds are stunningly beautiful with many holes overlooking the gorgeous California coast.

We watched the weather forecast before we left for our road trip. We had planned to play four rounds of golf while we were in Carmel, so it was concerning that rain was in the forecast. I kept a positive attitude the entire time, hoping my positive “weather karma” would help chase away those clouds and showers.

Unfortunately, my weather karma did not work.

When we got in the car on Thursday at noon to drive to Pebble Beach, it was drizzling intermittently. “Maybe it will stop” was what I kept thinking. No such luck. The drizzle continued. And there was no rescheduling our round of golf to another (rain free) day … we were told that it would be impossible to find another tee time on such short notice.

So, I sucked it up and donned four layers of clothing (the temperature was hovering around 50 degrees all day) and a golf hat.

As I look back on that four-and-a-half-hour round of golf, there were many positives:

1. We got to play as a twosome, which is much faster than a foursome.
2. Because of the almost torrential rain, everyone in front of us was playing fast, so there wasn’t a lot of waiting between holes.
3. I actually shot par (a three) on Hole #7! Here are a couple of photos, so you can see how small the target green was … and if I had overshot or undershot, I would have been in big trouble! I feel like I have bragging rights for that par 3!

Karen at Hole #7 – Target Green
Karen Celebrating Par 3 at Hole #7 – Bragging Rights

And I learned a few lessons during that round, too:

1. Even though I was soaked to the bone, I was forced to not quit early. Unlike most courses, once you start on Hole #1 at Pebble Beach you do not end up near the clubhouse until you finish Hole #18. In my head, I was thinking we might stop after Hole #9 … but we were so far away from the clubhouse that we had to continue. Has that ever happened to you? You want to quit after starting something, but you can’t, as you are far away from your home base. It reminds me of the first time I soloed as a pilot in a Cessna 152 … once I was in the air by myself, I had to stick with it and concentrate, as I could not quit (even though I was super nervous), until I landed the plane.

2. I got better at using the clubs I hate. Like the sand wedge. I used to dread hitting a golf ball and having it land in a sand trap (aka “bunker”). But, I got significantly better that day getting out of a bunker and onto the green because I had lots of practice. Have you noticed that happens to you, too? Maybe you’re not great at a certain skill, but as they say, “practice makes progress.” We all get better with practice.

Karen in the “bunker”— Practice Makes Progress

3. Due to the constant drizzle, my hands and clubs got wet. Several times while I was swinging the club, it slipped in my hand, sending the ball in a direction I did not want. What I learned was the importance of having a dry towel handy, a spare glove or two in my bag, and planning my club needs in advance of getting out of the cart. Do you ever show up to a meeting and realize you forgot something important that you need in your presentation? How do you prevent that? You visualize the situation in advance and role play, which allows you to anticipate your needs and how the meeting will go. Of course, I brought lots of extra golf balls with me, but I never thought about packing an extra golf glove in my bag.

Golfing in the rain definitely taught me contingency planning, the importance of regular practice and the benefit of self-determination. It also taught me to appreciate the beauty of a situation, even if it is not exactly what I had expected. The lush green fairways and the pounding waves of the ocean were dramatic and breathtaking. If I had been only worrying about my score, I would have missed all of that.
So next time you are in a situation that is not exactly what you expected or planned for, take a deep breath and find something to appreciate! Your attitude can make all the difference in the world. And, who knows, you may find a silver lining.

Karen

Jack & me at the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links Carmel, CA – Silver Linings

 

Los Alamitos, CA (February 2021) Whole Foods Market is celebrating “Women Makers Raising the Bar,” highlighting some of the women makers, career changers and industry leaders who inspire and motivate others; and for the second year in a row, Frieda’s will be a focal point in the produce department as a proudly female-founded, female-owned and female-led company.

“We’re happy to spotlight Frieda’s Specialty Produce, a woman-owned and operated produce company,” said Erik Brown, executive leader, procurement at Whole Foods Market. “Frieda’s is a supplier that is all heart, caring deeply about the companies they supply and the shoppers they inspire.”

Nationwide, Whole Foods Market will promote a large selection of Frieda’s specialty items, including Snow & Honey™ dragon fruit, jackfruit, mandarinquats, kumquats, pink lemons and much more.

“We are thrilled to be included in this promotion for the second year in a row! In a male-driven industry, our female-first heritage is what lies at the very heart of our company and sets us apart,” says Megan Klemz, account manager at Frieda’s. “It is truly amazing to work with an organization like Whole Foods Market who has shared values and seeks to inspire their shoppers every day with new food experiences.”

 

 

Los Alamitos, CA – (December 2020) – While past food predictions may have highlighted adventurous eating and culinary feats, this year’s pandemic has firmly put the focus back on classic comfort … with a twist. The tastemakers at Frieda’s Specialty Produce, known for spotting food trends with longevity, have some interesting predictions up their sleeves to help retailers make room for an exciting 2021.

“The pandemic has shifted the focus from macro trends such as travel, celebrity chefs and molecular gastronomy, to the realities of everyday living. Quarantining, social distancing, and continued sheltering in-place means that 2021 will be primarily influenced by what’s directly around us, with an emphasis on health, wellness and that feel-good factor we so desperately need,” says Cindy Sherman, director of marketing, insights & innovation at Frieda’s Specialty Produce.

So, what does this mean for shoppers? Here’s what you can expect in 2021:

Bubbles Up!
Whether it’s kombucha or sparkling water with outrageous flavor combinations, effervescence is exploding! These fizzy tonics combine the benefits of prebiotics and probiotics, plant fiber, and functional herbs and botanicals to deliver flavor and fitness. We love mixing aperol with muddled rambutan and a splash of grapefruit juice for a fun, fruity spritz!

Down Home Comfort
Cooking fatigue is real. Bread has been baked, spirits have been distilled and soufflés have risen. Help shoppers hang on a little longer by inspiring them to elevate their at-home game. Incorporate Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes into sweet treats like babka or homemade ice cream.

Rule Reversal
Cereal for dinner and mac & cheese for breakfast? After a year of extremes, the focus is on what’s best for YOU! Bored with the same old Zoom routine? Play a rousing game of spice roulette with shishito peppers, or spice up your charcuterie boards with offbeat options like dragon fruit and rambutan. It’s time to bend the rules.

 Hold the Bread…
…and the meat, but not the flavor! Shoppers are being spoiled for choice with alternatives that pair better-for-you ingredients with classic comfort. Hearts of palm pasta, cricket-flour cookies, and so much more. Going paleo? No problem! Try Stokes Purple® sweet potato crostinis, or crispy jicama taco shells filled with meaty—but meatless—pulled jackfruit!

Polychromatic Plates
After a gloomy year, it’s time for bold graphics, pigmented palettes and foods in saturated hues. Paint your plate with beet-dyed noodles, rosy watermelon radish with pesto hummus, or a sprinkle of vibrant blue spirulina powder. Bright and oh-so-satisfying!

 

Home for the holidays? Us too!

With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, you’re probably wondering what the holidays will look like this year—so are we! Celebrating the holidays may look quite a bit different, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be just as special—in fact, there has never been a better time to throw out the old (traditions) and ring in the new! Read on to find bold, stress-free, and responsible ways to add your own unique spin to the holidays.

See You on the Other Side (of the Screen)

If there’s one thing we’ve embraced this year, it’s simplicity. While nothing compares to seeing your friends’ smiling faces in person, a virtual Thanksgiving may just be the next best thing. Not only do you get to invite as many people you want, but it’s also the perfect way to catch up with people who you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see over the holidays … minus all the stress!

Invite your friends, pick a date, choose your favorite virtual platform, set up an online doc with a meal plan and grocery list for everyone to see, and then on the chosen day, prep and cook together, if you have the time, or set a time for everyone to log in and enjoy together (virtually, of course). A great way to get ahead of menu planning is by researching what’s local and seasonal and take it from there. This year, the rules just don’t count.

We recommend shaking up the classics and giving them a vibrant upgrade, like this Hearty Stokes Purple® sweet potato and cipolline onion breadless stuffing, or a Creamy Stokes Purple® sweet potato soup which not only keeps the menu light and easy, but is also bright and festive!

 

And what are the holidays without a little liquid celebration? Try a citrusy Kumquat Ginger Smash or the heady Passion Fruit Mojito, and the fortifying Rainbow Carrot, Turmeric, Ginger, and Blood Orange Juice—delicious with or without alcohol!

Rocks glass filled with kumquats, ginger, rum and club soda garnished with skewered kumquats. Spoon laid to the side of glass.

 

(Socially Distanced) Sugar Rush

If a full menu sounds like too much, why not keep it simple and skip straight to dessert? Host your very own virtual bake off, and while there may not be any Great British Bake Off grand-prize winner, where there’s pie, everyone’s a winner. We highly recommend the no-sweat, easy-peasy Frieda’s Stokes Purple® sweet potato pie with fluffy maple whipped cream for a fun, modern twist on a classic Thanksgiving favorite.

Not a pie person? Try these Stokes Purple® sweet potato dark chocolate coconut cups, which are a great way to exercise portion control and restraint (even though you may not want to!). Plus, they pack a nutritional punch with Vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, which is something we all could use right about now. Not convinced? Read all about the nutritional punch these purple sweet potatoes pack here.

Frieda's Stokes Purple Sweet Potato Pie

 

The Great Friendsgiving Drop-Off

Still want a big meal without all the leftovers and hard work? A door drop-off is just what you need. Divide up the menu and have all your friends cook one (or several) of their favorite dishes, divide up the portions, and drop them off at each other’s door—the perfect way to get your fill of sweet, savory, and of course easy!

Looking for inspiration? Try these Hasselback Stokes purple® sweet potato with ginger turmeric glaze, easy to make and transport! Pro tip: Make a double batch of the glaze and save the leftover for spreading on toast or adding zippy flavor to roasted vegetables. If you’re looking for something a little more comforting, try making a batch of these Stokes Purple® sweet potato biscuits with maple butter glaze, a deliciously cozy and easily transportable dish to drop off to friends and family. They’re perfect to pair with your Thanksgiving spread or enjoy in the morning before the big feast begins.

Would it even be 2020 if we didn’t mention the year’s biggest vegetarian food trend … the cauliflower? This multicolored cruciferous veggie is not only delicious, but also extremely versatile and easy to cook, especially our Whole roasted colored cauliflower with salsa verde or the incredibly breathtaking (tasting?) Whole roasted purple cauliflower with a romesco sauce…*chefs kiss*

Pro tip: If you decide to make the turkey, make sure you take into account food allergies and restrictions.

 

Charcuterie Board Banksy

Kick your virtual happy hour up a notch and add an element of creativity with a fun charcuterie board contest. A charcuterie board is typically filled with cured meats, cheeses, veggies, dried fruit, nuts, and crackers, but since we’ve done away with the rules, add whatever you want!

Start by defining a theme—rainbows, desserts or good old Thanksgiving foods are a few easy options- appoint a judge (preferably one who can’t be bought with yummy treats) and then get ready to get competitive! If you’ve got your eye on the prize, then amp up the drama with fresh dragon fruit, kiwi berries, finger limes, kumquats, rambutan and watermelon radishes to not only set your board apart, but also add bright and festive pops of color.

 

So Close, But Just Far Enough

If nothing can replace the feeling of actually being together, host a small and socially distanced gathering in your backyard with a potluck style spread. Set up an outdoor projector, watch some movies and have a small fire going, and let your guests graze on hummus and crudités, assorted skewers, Stokes Purple® sweet potato crostini with goat cheese, slices of our Winter Citrus Tart that hits all the right notes of sweet and tart, and cozy up with a mug of Golden Milk Turmeric Chai, or a nourishing Ginger and Turmeric Sipping Broth that feels like a hug in a mug.

Sure, this might not feel like your typical Friendsgiving dinner, sharing drinks and dishes—and the occasional drama—but it’s still worth celebrating. The celebrations may require putting in a little more effort than years past, but don’t let that stop you from reaching out—whether that’s 6 feet or 600 miles apart.

Wishing you all a safe, yummy, and inspiring Holiday season!

Los Alamitos, CA (October 2020) – Immunity will be top of mind this winter. In fact, according to a recent study by Hartman Research, 68% of consumers are either using functional foods or are interested in using functional foods for immunity benefit this year1. Give shoppers easy, delicious ways to dose-up on vitamin C and add variety to their citrus rotation with Frieda’s new calamondin and limequat grab-n-go pouches.

Limequats are a hybrid of two favorites—limes and kumquats—characterized by a sweet rind and tart juice. Sweeter than lime and fully edible, this fruit can be used in cocktails and treats like limequat bars. Calamondin, also known as calamansi, are small hybrids of mandarins and kumquats that are perfectly poppable—skin and all! (Think teeny, tiny oranges that are sour & tart, making them ideal as an ingredient when creating a glaze for fish or poultry.) They are very popular throughout Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine for adding that tangy citrus flavor to dishes.

“Shoppers have become accustomed to discovering new citrus favorites every year,” says Alex Berkley, director of sales at Frieda’s. “First it was blood oranges, then came the Sumo mandarins. Last year shoppers fell in love with our mandarinquats, and this year they’ll be coming to the store to see what’s new & addictive in citrus.”

Frieda’s calamondins and limequats are available in 12/8-ounce pouches, with availability after Thanksgiving. Call your Frieda’s account manager today to request samples and pre-book.  Supplies won’t last!

Source:
1 Functional Food & Beverage Supplements, April 2020, The Hartman Group, total sample (n=2,637)

 

 

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, Twitter, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.