The United Fresh Produce Association will honor Frieda Rapoport Caplan with its Lifetime Achievement Award during its 2013 Winter Leadership Meetings this January in Tucson AZ. The award recognizes individuals for a lifetime of achievement and for lasting contributions to the fresh produce industry.

In 1962, Caplan established Frieda’s Finest/Produce Specialties Inc in the male-dominated Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market. At that time, Caplan was one of the first women to own and operate a US 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.

Her 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.

Caplan continues to serve as chairman of the board of Frieda’s Inc, working with her daughters Karen Caplan, president and chief executive officer; and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, vice-president and chief operating officer.

This year’s dinner honoring Frieda Caplan will be held January 28 at the Loews Ventana Canyon Ranch in Tucson. Friends and associates who wish to honor her are invited to participate in the dinner, as well as a benefit golf tournament earlier that day. Information on golf and dinner tickets and sponsorship can be obtained at www.unitedfresh.org under the calendar of events.