Newark, Del. – The Produce Marketing Association global community and its staff are deeply saddened to learn of the recent passing of Frieda Rapoport Caplan.
Frieda’s contributions to the fresh produce industry and consumer palate are many, such as the introduction and acceptance of a multitude of specialty/exotic fresh fruits and vegetables including the kiwifruit, Asian pear, chile pepper varieties, and purple potatoes to name just a few.
As a female business owner in an overwhelmingly male-oriented industry, Frieda provided an example to many aspiring women executives and, in conversations we shared, it was very apparent she always had an open door to those seeking a mentor and guidance. She also delighted in the fact that her daughters and granddaughter were carrying forward the torch she lit when she founded Frieda’s, Inc. in 1962.
Recently PMA, through our Center for Growing Talent, honored Frieda with our Women’s Catalyst Award. The award recognizes an outstanding individual in the produce and floral industries who cultivates women’s potential by mentoring and fostering a path for leadership, development and participation. As seen during the award presentation at Fresh Summit 2019, countless women who have benefited from sitting under Frieda’s learning tree joined in our celebration of her.
Upon joining PMA, Frieda’s office was among my very first “must do” member visits, and she literally welcomed me with open arms to our industry. In the five years since, it was not uncommon to open my e-mail and find a note from Frieda offering her unique insights on trends, innovation, and inspiration.
Throughout her career, Frieda has been described as a fearless entrepreneur, product innovator, produce pioneer, trailblazer, icon, and vanguard.
She is all these accolades to others and me, but most of all I am incredibly blessed and proud to have called her a friend.
PMA joins the Caplan and Frieda’s families in mourning the loss of their matriarch.