School kids across the United States are getting a chance to try unique fruits and vegetables, and Frieda’s Specialty Produce is playing a role, thanks to two innovative produce wholesalers.
Texas-based Combs Produce and Florida-based Produce Connection have been introducing children to the world of specialty produce through the USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program. Frieda’s recently provided Combs Produce with Horned Melons, Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes and Dragon Fruit for their first Farmer’s Market held at an elementary school in San Benito, Texas.
Amy Catalini Holcomb, for Combs Produce, said the program has grown by leaps and bounds since it was first established in 2010. “I love seeing their faces when they discover something new,” Holcomb said.
In Orlando, Produce Connection has a successful school program thanks to the leadership of Marc Dudley. The wholesaler provides lesson plans and monthly menus to schools along with conversation-piece produce, such as the Pepino Melon and Mangosteen. “We started with one school in 2008 and today we have 32 schools involved,” says Dudley. “It’s a great education program that is really awesome because of the exotic produce we get from Frieda’s.”
Jeff Kelly, Frieda’s senior account manager, has been working with the two companies to find the right mix of produce that will fit the program requirements and pique the interest of kids.
“It’s surprising how easily we can tailor specialty produce items to fit this program. Our wholesale partners like Amy and Mark are passionate about the work they do and bringing food education to these kids. It’s exciting to be a part of this.”
Partnering with wholesalers who participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is one of several ways Frieda’s works to support these company mission, in changing the way (the youngest) Americans eat fruits and vegetables.