November 29, 2012
In Today's Issue:
Frieda Caplan To Be Honored with United Fresh Lifetime Achievement Award

Frieda Caplan will be honored for her pioneering spirit and contributions to the produce industry with the United Fresh Lifetime Achievement Award.

The United Fresh Produce Association will honor Frieda Rapoport Caplan with its Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals for a lifetime of achievement and for lasting contributions to the fresh produce industry. The award will be presented at the new annual Produce Legends Dinner to be held each year in conjunction with the United Winter Leadership Meetings. This year’s dinner honoring Frieda Caplan will be held on Monday, January 28 at the Loews Ventana Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. Friends and associates who wish to join in honoring Frieda are invited to participate in the dinner, as well as the Foundation’s benefit golf tournament earlier that day.

“I am honored and a bit overwhelmed with this award. But I have to say that my greatest success and joy is that I get to work every day alongside my two daughters and one of my grandchildren. Everyone in business should be so lucky,” commented Frieda Caplan.

In 1962, Frieda Caplan established Frieda’s Finest/Produce Specialties, Inc. on the male-dominated Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market. At that time, Caplan was one of the first women to own and operate a U.S. produce business. She debuted with a purple sign, which later became the company’s signature color, and her premier product was fresh brown mushrooms – an unusual specialty at that time. She quickly developed a reputation for buying and selling new and unusual produce specialties.

Caplan’s marketing abilities were recognized worldwide after her success in introducing and promoting the Kiwifruit in the United States, earning her the title, “Queen of Kiwi.” Her ability to create consumer demand for unusual foods has helped Caplan and her daughters make success stories out of many more items, including Sugar Snap Peas™, Hothouse Cucumbers, Habanero Chiles and Kiwano® Melons.

Today, Caplan continues to serve as Chairman of the Board of Frieda’s, Inc, working with her daughters Karen Caplan, president and CEO, and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, vice president and chief operating officer, to lead the company. Frieda’s recently marked the addition of the third generation to the company, with Frieda’s granddaughter Alex joining the marketing team at the company.

Throughout Caplan’s career she has received countless awards from the industry and larger business community. These accolades include The Packer’s 1979 “Produce Marketer of the Year” award, the Harriet Alger Award from Working Woman magazine, Los Angeles Times recognition as one of the top 12 California business persons in the 1980’s (along with Michael Eisner and Jane Fonda), and the 2012 Legacy Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners.

“Frieda Caplan truly is the model for a Lifetime Achievement Award in the produce industry,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “From the very start she epitomized the classic produce entrepreneur, always pushing forward as a progressive marketer, savvy business personality, and as a leader in our industry. And while Frieda has been a longtime role-model for women in produce, she stands out as a role-model for anyone in our industry,” he said.

Based in Los Alamitos, California, Frieda’s Inc. is celebrating its 50th year as a premier marketer and distributor of specialty produce, today supplying grocery retailers and foodservice distributors with more than 600 varieties of exotics fruits, gourmet vegetables and unique companion items.

The United Fresh Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals who have showcased a career of distinguished service to the fresh produce industry; commitment and leadership in their business, community and the industry overall; significant impact on the growth and success of the industry; and demonstrated achievements that have made a lasting difference for those who will follow in their footsteps. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Reggie Griffin of The Kroger Company in 2012, and was awarded posthumously in 2007 to Robert Grimm of Grimmway Farms. Nominees for this year’s award were solicited from among United Fresh’s hundreds of volunteer leaders and the honoree was selected by the Executive Committee of the United Fresh Board of Directors.

Information on golf and dinner tickets and sponsorship is available here. For more information, please contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.

Chefs to Be Honored for Fresh Produce Innovation at United Fresh 2013

2012 Foodservice Award Winners were recognized in Dallas.

United Fresh has opened the nomination period for United Fresh Foundation’s 2013 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program. Sponsored by PRO*ACT, LLC since its inception, the program honors the foodservice industry’s most innovative produce performers.

“This program is a great way to recognize the work that chefs do in incorporating produce into the new products they develop for their menus,” said United Retail-Foodservice Board Vice Chairman Sean Picquelle, produce and beverage product quality and food safety manager for Taco Bell. “It spotlights the incredible ways that chefs in a variety of restaurants and culinary settings can utilize fresh and fresh-cut produce which ultimately increases fresh produce consumption.”

Since its launch in 2008, the program has honored 27 talented chefs and foodservice professionals for their exceptional work in incorporating fresh produce in menu development, proper food safety and handling, engaging in community outreach, and building an overall positive dining experience featuring fresh produce. 

In 2013, six winning chefs will be honored in each the following business categories: Business in Industry & Colleges Hotels & Healthcare Industry, Casual and Family Dining Restaurants, Fine Dining Restaurants, K-12 Foodservice, and Quick Serve Restaurants. Winners are selected by a panel of United Fresh member representatives focused on excellence in the foodservice sector. Nominations must be submitted before January 16, 2013. Nominations are accepted on the United Fresh Foundation website.

“Produce can take a consumer’s ordinary dining experience and make it extraordinary,” said Max Yeater, President of PRO*ACT. “We are proud to continue to support this program which honors chefs who make fresh produce an integral part of their menus and provider their customers with innovative and exciting concepts.”

The six winning chefs and their corporate executives receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and registrations to United Fresh 2013, May 14-16 in San Diego. The winners will be honored at the Annual Chairman’s Reception & Produce Celebration Dinner and will also participate in education sessions at the convention to share their views on produce trends in foodservice. PRO*ACT will also make a donation to a charitable organization of each winner’s choice.

“The creative ways that these chefs and foodservice professionals feature produce as the centerpiece of the plate truly grabs consumers’ attention,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and CEO. “Their talent creates an increase in the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, for which the entire industry is appreciative.”

The 2012 winners in each category were:

  • Business in Industry & Colleges: Chef David Kramer, Chef Instructor, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL
  • Casual & Family Dining Restaurants: Chef Michael Stebner, Director of Culinary, True Food Kitchen, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef Brian Scheehser, Executive Chef, Trellis Restaurant, Kirkland, WA
  • Hotels & Healthcare: Chef Christophe Depuichaffray, Area Executive Chef, InterContinental Mark Hopkins and Hotel InterContinental San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • K-12 School Foodservice: Jessica Shelly, Director of Food Services, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati, OH
  • Quick Service Restaurants: John Hughes, Senior Vice President & Director of Training, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Manasquan, NJ

For more information about the award program, please visit the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program online or contact Miriam Wolk, United Fresh senior director of membership, at 202-303-3410.

Apio CEO Visits Local School to See Salad Bars in Action

Ron Midyett (far left), Apio CEO, enjoys the salad bar at Adams Elementary school with students.

Ron Midyett, CEO of Apio, Inc. and chairman-elect of United Fresh, visited Adams Elementary School to see salad bars donated by the company in action. Apio recently announced the donation of salad bars to 10 elementary schools in the Santa Maria - Bonita School District. The salad bars, donated to support Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools, benefit more than 7,000 students by providing a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables every day at lunch.

“Salad bars are an excellent tool to teach students to eat more fruits and vegetables. We are creating tomorrow’s consumers by teaching kids to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables as part of their daily diet, which makes for a healthier community,” said Midyett. “As a producer of fresh vegetables, we feel that the salad bars offer nutritious lunch options that help children establish healthy eating habits at a young age and we are happy to support our local schools.”

Liz Powell, Santa Maria-Bonita’s Foodservice Director, was on hand for Midyett’s visit and shared, “Our school district started using salad bars in the early 1990’s, and they’re a hit with our students, but our equipment was getting old. Now, thanks to Apio we have new salad bars in all of our schools. We source produce locally, and include a wide variety of options on the salad bars each day.”

Apio, a CA-based leading manufacturer of fresh-cut vegetables, has supported Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools since the campaign’s inception and has donated salad bars to 25 schools in the past two years.

Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools is a special campaign of the United Fresh Foundation, a founding partner of the national Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative. The goal of Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools is to increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumptionby donating salad bars to 350 California schools. The campaigns supportFirst Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to end childhood obesity.

To learn more about Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools, or how you can support salad bars for schools in your local community, contact United’s policy &grassroots manager Andrew Marshall at 202-303-3407.


Costco Wholesale Celebrates First Store Opening in Washington, DC

Craig Richards (left), director of produce operations, gave the United Fresh team a tour of the produce department at the new Costco Wholesale in Washington, DC.

United Fresh President Tom Stenzel and John Toner, vice president of convention & industry relations, were on hand Wednesday night to help congratulate Costco Wholesale on the grand opening of its first store in Washington, DC.  The 154,000 square-foot store will bring top-quality foods, other goods and jobs to an under-served community in Northeast DC. 

“It’s always great to see our members expanding and connecting with local communities,” Stenzel said.  “That’s where we see the association’s work come to life – when real customers connect with fresh produce.” 

Costco Director of Produce Operations Craig Richards and Regional Produce Merchandiser Tom Albano greeted visitors from the community in the produce section of the store.  “Craig and Tom shared with us their goals for produce in this store location, and we can also assure all of our member produce suppliers to Costco that their products were in tip-top shape in the new store,” Toner said.

Workshop Unites Schools, Produce Industry to Drive Sales and Consumption

Opportunities to Drive Produce Sales to Schools” will explore the fresh produce industry’s opportunities for increased sales to school foodservice programs.  The December 12th workshop in Cerritos, CA, hosted by United Fresh and the Fresh Produce & Floral Council, features school food service directors and produce distributors, who have successfully seized the opportunity to create profitable business relationships that increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in schools:

  • Dr. Robert Lewis, Director of Food Services, El Monte City School District (El Monte, CA)
  • Cathy Tang, Director, Child Nutrition Services, Lynwood Unified School District (Lynwood, CA)
  • Laurel Goins, Food Service Supervisor, Rio School District (Oxnard, CA)
  • Kara Muniz, Director of Food Services, Hueneme Elementary School District (Port Hueneme, CA)
  • Brad Knipscheer, Director of Nutrition Services, Hemet Unified School District (Hemet, CA)
  • Jennifer McNeil, Assistant Director of Nutrition Services, Hemet Unified School District (Hemet, CA)
  • Russell Boyd, Director of Sales, Sunrise Produce (Commerce, CA)
  • Lisa Andrea Marquez, Director of School Development, Sunrise Produce (Commerce, CA)
  • Lorelei DiSogra, Vice President Nutrition and Health, United Fresh Produce Association (Washington, D.C.)   

“The panelists will bring a valuable perspective to the question of how to effectively and profitably meet the fresh produce needs of schools,” said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice president of nutrition & health, who will moderate the event.   “This is an opportunity to learn how healthier school lunches, salad bars and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program offer growing business opportunities for the wholesale and distribution sectors of the fresh produce industry,” added  Lorelei.

The workshop takes place December 12 from 8-11 am at the Sheraton Cerritos Hotel in Cerrito, CA. Registration for the workshop is $40 and includes a continental breakfast.  For more information please contact Jeff Oberman, United Fresh vice president of membership & trade relations, at 831-422-0940.

An Ivy League Education for Produce Industry Professionals

The 2012 Produce Executive Development Class completed the program with new business perspectives and valuable resources.

For the past five years, the produce industry’s best and brightest executives have converged on Cornell’s campus for a five day, transformational education experience. Now it’s your turn.

Join top executives in the industry for the 2013 United Fresh Produce Executive Development Program, March 10-15. Presented in partnership with the esteemed Cornell University Food Industry Management Program, the program blends an Ivy-League learning environment with produce industry thought leaders, making for a unique experience that will dramatically impact your career.             

During this intensive five day course, you will be exposed to the latest business trends, master skills to navigate economic challenges and learn effective tools to advance your company. The small class size of 40 attendees enables the instructors to tailor the curriculum to your specific needs, allowing for a personalized learning experience.

Tuition for the program includes five nights lodging, course instruction, materials and supplies, breakfasts, luncheons and several special dinners. For United Fresh members, the registration fee is $4,995 if booked prior to January 18. Enrollment is limited to 40 participants. Last year’s course sold-out, so interested participants are encouraged to register early.

More information on the Produce Executive Development Program is available online or by contacting Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at 202-303-3405.

Know an Outstanding Produce Manager?
Welcome New Members!
An eye-catching produce display submitted by 2012 award winner Wanda Ivy Nicholas, Travis AFB Commissary.

The United Fresh Foundation, through the Center for Leadership Excellence, is accepting nominations for the 2013 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program. Established in 2005 by founding sponsor Ready Pac Foods, Inc., the program will honor 25 outstanding retail produce managers at the United Fresh 2013 convention May 14-16 in San Diego.

The Retail Produce Manager Awards Program pays special recognition to produce managers on the front line in supermarkets working everyday to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Since the program’s inception, over 170 managers from more than 60 different retail banners have been honored for their commitment to customer satisfaction, innovative merchandising, produce-related community outreach, and recognition among company peers.

“Produce managers are the face of our industry to the consumer,” said Chairman of United’s Retail-Foodservice Board Randy Scott, Category Manager Produce for Delhaize America. “Their creativity and positive interaction with customers can had a tangible effect on all of our bottom lines. This program is a powerful way to send a message to produce managers everywhere that we value what they do.”

This year, 25 award winners, along with their corporate produce directors, will receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and registrations to the United Fresh 2013 convention. The winners will be honored at the Produce Celebration Dinner on Thursday, May 16, where five grand prize winners will be announced as recipients of an additional $1,000 cash prize.

“We salute the incredible work of these men and women who are delivering an exceptional produce experience every day to the consumer,” said Michael Solomon, President and CEO of Ready Pac Foods, Inc. “We are proud to sponsor this program and honored to have such dedicated and talented managers showcasing the best our industry has to offer.”

“We strongly encourage all retailers who want to recognize their best produce managers to nominate them today,” said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president of member services, foundation. “This is more than just a plaque to hang on the wall. This program is experience that many have called a highlight of their careers!”

Nominations for the 2013 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program may be accessed online and must be received by January 18, 2013.

Click here for more information, including selection criteria and a list of winners since 2005, or contact Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at or 202-303-3405.


Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2013 Supporters
Welcome New Members!

The Chairman's Roundtable provides extra support for programs in government relations, food safety, nutrition policy and other areas to help grow the produce industry. We are pleased to recognize the following companies who have committed to the 2013 Chairman’s Roundtable:

  • Andrew Smith Company
  • Beachside Produce, LLC
  • C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
  • Cabbage, Inc.
  • California Giant Berry Farms
  • Coast Citrus Distributors
  • Dole Food Company
  • Domex Superfresh Growers
  • Lakeside Produce Distribution, Inc.
  • Rocky Produce, Inc.
  • Sunkist Growers, Inc.
  • The Nunes Company, Inc.

The Chairman's Roundtable is an opportunity for United Fresh member companies to contribute above and beyond their basic dues. Roundtable members are industry leaders who set the pace in building United Fresh's strength in areas that do not generate their own revenue. Members of Chairman's Roundtable enjoy special recognition throughout the year for their support. For more information on the Chairman’s Roundtable, please contact Senior Director of Membership Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


New Member Welcome
Welcome New Members!

Each week, United Fresh welcomes its newest partners in building a stronger produce industry.

  • Gilbert, LLP, Washington, D.C.

United Fresh thanks all current members for their dedication to the association and the produce industry. Please let us know whenever we can be of service to you. For more details about the benefits of membership, please contact Jeff Oberman at 831-422-0940 or Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Upcoming United Fresh Events

day plannerJoin us for events designed to grow your business:

Opportunities to Drive Produce Sales to Schools Workshop
December 12, Sheraton Cerritos Hotel, Cerritos, CA

Produce Inspection Training Program
January 14-18, USDA Training Center, Fredericksburg, VA

United Fresh Foundation Golf Tournament & Produce Legends Dinner
January 28, Loews Ventana Canyon, Tucson, AZ

2013 Winter Leadership Meetings
January 28-30, Loews Ventana Canyon, Tucson, AZ

2013 Produce Executive Development Program
March 10-15, 2013, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
United Fresh 2013 
May 14-16, 2013, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA