They were calling to invite me to their home in Beverly Hills because they wanted to pick my brain about pomegranates. I’m guessing they called me because Frieda’s was the first to market fresh pomegranates in U.S. supermarkets nationwide.
I met Lynda when we honored her at a National Association of Women Business Owners awards luncheon a few months earlier. I was the Mistress of Ceremonies and Lynda’s introductory video malfunctioned, so we had a chance to “bond” over the mishap.
I can’t recall the exact conversation we had about pomegranates, but I do remember Stewart asking me a lot of questions. And the rest is marketing history.
A few years later, after Stewart and Lynda began producing thousands of acres of fresh pomegranates, they eventually went into bottled juice and pomegranate arils (the seeds), creating a marketing machine. I think Lynda is possibly one of the most brilliant marketers I have ever met. She wrote a book a few years ago, which I highly recommend, titled “Rubies in the Orchard.”
I have always been proud of my early conversation with Stuart and Lynda about pomegranates. Clearly, I had nothing to do with their immense success, but it sure made me feel good that they called me.
Most consumers might think that POM Wonderful® was the first to market pomegranate juice. But it really came to market back in 1968 when my mother Frieda received a phone call from John Heinke who owned a company in Paradise, California, near Sacramento. He was one of her first kiwifruit growers, and had another product he was bullish on — bottled pomegranate juice!
I recall visiting his bottling plant in Paradise while I was in college and was quite impressed. Of course, the pomegranate juice that John sold us under the “Heinke’s Juices” brand was not as sophisticated as what you see today, but it was quite popular with all the health food nuts in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
It was when Garry and I went to a small café for breakfast, while on vacation in Scottsdale, that my small world became even smaller.
As usual, I struck up a conversation with the owner of Benedict’s Café, whose name is Dawn. When I told her my mom’s name is Frieda, she said, “That’s my mom’s name!” Then she added that she grew up in Paradise, California!
Talk about a small world! When I told her about my visit to a bottling plant in Paradise, she told me John Heinke was actually her mother’s cousin! Dawn and I were grinning from ear to ear.
Dawn, of Benedict’s Cafe
I guess it pays to make conversation with strangers — even if it drives your family crazy when you do!