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Frieda Caplan, founder and chairman of the board of Frieda’s Specialty Produce, will be honored this week with a Compass Award at the Women’s Leadership Exchange West Coast Business Summit. WLE’s Compass Awards honor women who have made significant contributions in their professional fields.
As one of four successful businesswomen being honored Tuesday, Caplan, who founded her namesake business in 1962, was the first woman to own and operate a wholesale produce business in the United States. She gained international recognition for her pioneering role in the male-dominated produce industry, which included her efforts in naming, introducing and promoting Kiwifruit in the U.S., thus earning her the title “Queen of Kiwifruit.”
Caplan is also credited with introducing many other new and unusual fruits and vegetables to produce departments and consumers nationwide.
Celebrating its 46th anniversary this year, Los Alamitos-based Frieda’s remains a family-run business today, with Caplan’s daughters Karen Caplan, president and c.e.o. and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, v.p./business development manager presiding at its helm.