Karen Caplan


Karen Caplan is a specialty fruit and vegetable guru and president and CEO of Orange County-based Frieda’s Specialty Produce. Since introducing the Kiwifruit to America in the early 1960s, Frieda’s has become the preeminent marketer and distributor of specialty produce to American supermarkets and foodservice distributors. A leader in the produce industry, Caplan was the first female chairperson of the national trade organization, the United Fresh Produce Association, and the first female president of the southern California-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council. In 2015, Caplan was the industry’s Women in Produce honoree, and in 2016, she received a Jim Hicks Agricultural Achievement Award from Cal Poly Pomona. Caplan has served on numerous boards and leadership positions, including chairman and vice chairman of the USDA Fruit & Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee and board member of the 9th District Federal Reserve Bank, Los Angeles Chapter. Caplan is a frequent keynote speaker, panelist, and podcast participant on leadership, management and produce. Last year, the Caplan’s family business story was highlighted in the 2015 documentary film, “Fear No Fruit,” and was an official selection of the 2015 Newport Beach Film Festival, San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, Carmel International Film Festival and the 2016 Sedona International Film Festival. Caplan earned her bachelor of science in agricultural economics and business management from UC Davis. She writes regularly for The Shelby Report (national), The Fresh Fruit Portal (international) and the Orange County Breeze (regional). Her widely-read blog, What’s on Karen’s Plate, can be found at friedas.com/karensblog and via Twitter @karen_kiwi

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