The Caplan Family, Frieda's Specialty, and More Mark Frieda's 97th Birthday
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
LOS ALAMITOS, CA - Those born in early August are said to be warmhearted and in love with life. These special souls are able to use their minds to solve even the most difficult problems—likely in a way no one else would—and easily take initiative. No one personified this larger-than-life description than Frieda Rapoport Caplan, the Kiwi Queen herself, who would have marked her 97th birthday this week, August 10.
“Every year on August 10, we usually ask all our employees to wear something purple and we would ‘surprise’ my mom with a giant birthday cake. We all would surround her in our employee lunchroom and sing happy birthday,” Frieda’s daughter, Karen Caplan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Frieda’s Specialty Produce, shared with me. “Each year, the birthday ‘surprise’ became more special to each of us, especially for my sister Jackie, my daughter Alex, and me. On her 95th birthday, we actually invited many of our former employees who are still like family and a few industry friends to join us for a lovely luncheon prepared by our chef. Mom gave a short speech, and it was so special—and delicious!”
Frieda was known not just for being a pioneer both inside and outside our industry, but also a strong advocate. Among the causes dear to her was Women Against Gun Violence (WAGV), which during its annual luncheon later this month, Sunday, August 30, will virtually meet and honor Frieda.
“We were delighted to learn two months ago that Mom will be remembered and honored by this organization she helped found and supported. During WAGV’s virtual luncheon on August 30, there will be a special tribute to her. Mom was so passionate about this important cause that we emailed everyone on her contact list (yes, she was active on email!) about this event, and know that many of her friends have already made donations in her memory,” Karen said.
It is hard to believe that we have been without this powerful force for our industry for six months now, but in supporting causes like WAGV, we ensure that Frieda and her message live on.
For those who would like to donate, you can click here to find out more.
As for her family, the Caplans celebrate Frieda as they always have—with food, giving, love, and plenty of purple.
“This year, our immediate family gathered at mom’s house dressed in purple to reminisce with ‘Grandma Frieda’ stories, chocolate cupcakes, and old photos,” Karen told me. “The Kiwi Queen will always be in our hearts and minds!”
There was a fire in Frieda that made memorable the month of August—and so much more—in an entirely new way, shaping it into a time for fighting for each other and celebrating one another. And so here’s to you, Frieda, may ever shall you reign.