It’s a different industry thanks to Frieda Caplan - The Packer

It’s a different industry thanks to Frieda Caplan

02/01/2013 09:58:00 AM
Greg Johnson

Karen Caplan also earned The Packer’s 2004 Produce Person of the Year award at the event. In 1979 Frieda Caplan was the first woman to win the award, another pioneering moment.


Frieda’s daughter Jackie Caplan Wiggins, chief operating officer of the company, talked of her mother’s relentless optimism.

“If someone spits on you, you think it’s raining,” she told her mother from the lectern.

And Karen Caplan’s daughter, Alex Jackson, who joined the marketing staff more than a year ago, said she gets the ultimate immersion in her grandmother’s wisdom, as she lives in Frieda Caplan’s home.


There was an obvious warmth in the room as Frieda Caplan was honored, despite the unusually chilly Tucson weather that played havoc with the United Fresh Foundation golf tournament earlier in the day.

It made me wonder if a combined PMA/United group would lead to such an atmosphere.

The sentiment I hear since the failed merger seems more like grumbling rather than outrage or hostility.

There’s a sense of disappointment and missed opportunity.

But I think there’s also a sense of finality — that it didn’t happen, so let’s make the best of the structure we now have.

Judging by the Tucson event, maybe two strong associations working for the industry isn’t such a bad thing.

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