Tour de Fresh Kicks Off Year 5 Honoring Legacy Riders, Contributors, and Total Raised
- by Melissa De Leon
KIRKWOOD, CA - This morning saw a historic moment for our industry as the participants of the 5th annual Tour de Fresh set off on a record-setting four-day ride that will take a scenic but challenging route through Northern California.
“You’re not just donating salad bars, you’re changing the world,” Tom Stenzel, President and CEO of United Fresh, told the group. “Thank you so much everybody for having this idea and making this happen. Some of you might not know Cindy Jewell is the Chairperson for United Fresh, which I would say is the second most amazing thing she’s done for our industry. The first is this.”
The event kicked off officially last night with a group dinner at the Kirkwood resort, recognizing those who have brought the ride this far, and welcoming those who have joined to help push it even further.
“In the now five years we’ve done Tour de Fresh, we have raised over $600,000 and donated more than 80 salad bars,” Cindy Jewell, Vice President of Marketing for California Giant Berry Farms and one of the conceptualizers of the Tour de Fresh, shared with the crowd of riders and supporters last night. “I want to recognize five riders who have been here all five years, as well as sponsors who have been here the last five years. Thank you for sticking with us from day one.”
Legacy Riders Mike Deusebio, Jeff Church, Raina Nelson, Adam Linder, and Ray Connelly lined up to receive special commemorative jerseys, marking not only over 1,000 miles ridden to put salad bars in schools, but a significant amount raised.
“Look at these guys, this is $98,000 raised right here,” Anthony Gallino, California Giant’s Vice President of Sales and idea man behind the tour, told us, going down the list of how much each individual had raised.
Tom, too, had some inspiring numbers to show what this means not just for children, but in helping to ensure the future of our industry.
“Salad Bars for Schools has successfully donated 5,300 salad bars across the country, and you’ve made a huge dent in that,” he shared, explaining that when talking to schools about how much a $3,000 salad bar generates in fresh produces purchases, the answer was $6,000 a year. “Let me do the math for you, that’s more than $30 million in produce purchases a year because of what we’ve done with Salad Bars for Schools. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, not just for our industry but for changing the lifestyle for these kids.”
As of the latest, the riders have raised almost $125,000—creeping up on last year's record-breaking $170,916. Help this year continue to raise the bar by donating at the link below.
Make no mistake that it does not come without a significant amount of work and support, from the riders pushing themselves and each other, to the support crews that feed them, keep them hydrated and healthy, ensure their bikes are running, and protect them from vehicles that may or may not know how to share the road.
With segments on the map already promising heat in the triple digits and a climb that will result in dropping more than 3,500 feet of altitude over 20-plus miles, continue to follow AndNowUKnow as I follow them through the back roads of Northern California to Monterey and PMA’s Foodservice Expo.