Produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan turns 95
Los Alamitos, CA – Frieda’s Specialty Produce will celebrate the 95th birthday of its founder and produce industry pioneer, Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, on Friday, August 10.
Despite the company’s birthday paid time-off policy, Frieda plans on coming in to the office on her birthday anyway. “I already have Thursdays off, that’s enough PTO for me,” she said.
The subject of the 2015 documentary film “Fear No Fruit,” Frieda became the first woman in the U.S. to own and operate a produce company on the all-male Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market. Starting with the unusual and new-to-market specialties including the successful introduction of kiwifruit to the American market in 1962, Frieda and her company would go on to inspire new food experiences for chefs and home cooks by introducing more than 200 exotic fruits and vegetables to American consumers over the years, including Sunchokes®, dragon fruit, habanero peppers, jicama, and Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes.
In 1979, Frieda was the first woman to receive The Packer’s “Produce Man of the Year” award, which she handed back to the organizer. The award was soon renamed “The Produce Marketer of the Year,” and she received a new plaque with that title. In 1990, the Los Angeles Times’ “A Dozen Who Shaped the ‘80s” featured Frieda alongside Steve Jobs, Michael Eisner, and Jane Fonda.
Frieda has received numerous awards and honors for her achievements over the years, including an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from CSU-Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for her achievements as one of the nation’s most successful female entrepreneurs.
Currently, Frieda serves on the Board of Dramatic Results, a nonprofit agency that solves educational challenges by providing integrated arts programs to students and teachers in over 40 public school campuses in California, Oregon, and Alaska.
Wish Frieda a happy birthday or share your favorite Frieda moment or how she has inspired you on social media on August 10, using hashtag #ThanksFrieda.