Gary Bush of Schnucks store No. 728 in Evansville, Ind., was chosen Best Produce Manager through Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s Inc.’s inaugural Love Your Produce Manager promotion.

Frieda’s sponsors Love Your Produce Manager promotionFrom April 8 to May 5, local shoppers at St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets Inc., were encouraged to vote for their favorite produce managers. Bush’s outstanding customer service and produce knowledge led him to the top of the text message polling.

“Our produce managers are constantly expanding their knowledge of specialty produce through programs like Frieda’s Love Your Produce Manager and Produce University,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of produce for Schnucks, in a news release. “This promotion helped increase engagement between our produce teams and shoppers while introducing some exciting new fruits and vegetables.”

The promotion was part of Frieda’s 50th anniversary celebration, but is planned to continue annually, with April 2 officially recognized as National Love Your Produce Manager Day on the Chase Calendar of Events publication.Frieda’s sponsors Love Your Produce Manager promotion

The promotion at Schnucks coincided with weekly features of specialty produce categories, including Latin specialties, tropical fruits, gourmet vegetables and Asian specialties.

Produce managers were instrumental in introducing new items, like kiwifruit, when Frieda’s was founded, said Karen Caplan, Frieda’s president and chief executive officer, in the release.

“His willingness to listen to a shopper’s request and try something new made a difference,” she said in the release. “Frieda’s Inc. brought the first shipment of New Zealand-grown kiwifruit at his request, and today, the fruit is a much-loved commodity, available in just about every supermarket across the U.S. Even after 50 years, it still starts with the produce manager.”