In 1956, Frieda Caplan first worked as a bookkeeper at Giumarra Bros. Fruit Co. Later on, she began selling Brown Mushrooms, which were a specialty item in those days. After the success of selling mushrooms, Caplan opened her own specialty produce company in 1962 with mushrooms as the primary item. She started with a small stand at the Los Angeles wholesale produce market.
Once titled the “Queen of Kiwi,” Caplan gained international recognition from bringing the kiwifruit to the United States. This fruit was discovered in New Zealand and originally known as the Chinese gooseberry. Caplan renamed this fruit after the country’s flightless bird, the Kiwi. She then worked on convincing California growers to plant the fruit. She was successful, and soon California had more than 700 kiwifruit growers.
Frieda Caplan’s eldest daughter, Karen Caplan, was promoted to President and CEO of Frieda’s, Inc. in 1986. Jackie Caplan Wiggins, Frieda’s younger daughter, serves as Vice President and Business Chief Operating Officer. In 1990, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins became owners of Frieda’s, Inc. In that same year, the name of the company changed from Frieda’s Finest/Produce Specialties Inc. to Frieda’s, Inc.