The Trusteeship

Retreat 2012 ~ March 9 -11, Long Beach

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Frieda’s Inc.
“For She’s A Jolly Good Frieda!” What a perfect song to celebrate Frieda Caplan and the 50th Anniversary of Frieda’s Specialty Produce. On Friday March 9, The Trusteeship kicked off our 2012 retreat with a special celebration at Frieda’s headquarters. Frieda’s Inc. opened in 1962 and Frieda and her daughters Karen and Jackie, who have since
joined the business, have a family passion for produce. The Trusteeship got a sneak peek into life at Frieda’s Inc. with a behind-the-scenes tour. The story of Frieda’s Inc. is told visually through articles, photographs and memories along its Hall of Fame wall. The 50-year chronicle begins with a 1961 LA Times article that showed a stylishly dressed and smiling Frieda as a produce broker. We loved seeing the documents celebrating phases of Frieda’s Inc. including its opening in 1962 as the first woman-owned and operated produce business in the nation and the naming of Karen as president in 1986. A favorite moment during the tour was the chance to step into ‘The Green Room,’ one of several produce storage rooms. Opening the door and stepping through the green door, we were hit with the intense and wonderfully sweet aroma of tropical fruits. Karen Caplan says the fruit “is alive and awake in that room.” Our noses say she is right! It wasn’t long until we got to taste the wonderful foods we had been learning so much about! Over a gourmet dinner featuring Frieda’s specialty fruits and vegetables, Trusteeship President Renee
Fraser gave opening comments. “She[Frieda] is really the Steve Jobs of exotic fruits, vegetables and gourmet products,”Renee noted, “Think about it. She innovated. Her emphasis has always been on quality. She’s introduced 170 productssince 1962. And she has a great marketing mind.”  Frieda was heralded as “Queen of Kiwi” after introducing the fruit to America and Bon Appetit magazine dubbed her “VIP of Veggies.” Whatever you may call her, we all lifted our glasses and cheered for Frieda Caplan and her accomplishments.
To end the evening, Karen—the first “daughter of a mother in The Trusteeship”—hosted several industry leaders in a Food and Future Trends panel. Karen skillfully led a fascinating discussion with Russ Parsons (Food Editor, LA Times), Sue Klug (President of Albertson’s, Southern California) and Colleen Dunn Bates (author of EAT: Los Angeles) which covered topics including the recent adjustments to the LA Times food section, food truck trends and how generational changes in food knowledge is effecting the industry.
The evening was a treat for all five senses and a unique kickoff for the 2012 Trusteeship retreat. “I remember my first Trusteeship retreat was in 1984, and it was so exciting,” Frieda recalled, “I hope you all make similarly exciting memories of this weekend.”
I’d say our 50th Anniversary celebration of Frieda’s Inc. was a perfect start.

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“The Trusteeship is a wonderful refuge — a place to go that is safe, nurturing and supportive. A place where you can suspend time — where the pressures and demands of your daily routine become secondary to the sharing of confidences and passions with women that walk similar paths and know your challenges and triumphs.”

– Rita