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    Frieda Caplan

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    August 10, 1923 – January 18, 2020

    Without Frieda Caplan, we might not have kiwis. The fruit, not the bird.

    Caplan's company, Frieda's Inc., started selling mushrooms, but expanded to fruits in 1962. Frieda decided to bring an unknown to America's shores: a delicacy with a not-so-delightful name of "Chinese gooseberry". Believe it or not, that was the new first fruit introduced to the US since the incredibly exotic banana all the way back in the 1880s.

    Why have you never heard of a Chinese gooseberry? By the time Caplan started to import, New Zealand growers realized that moniker wasn't exactly appealing. So they gave it a name that harked back to their country: the kiwi. Caplan was the only one who agreed to bring it to America, and spearheaded its rise from obscurity to ever-presence.

    Other fruits and vegetables that Caplan introduced to the US were shallots, alfalfa sprouts, jicama, and spaghetti squash. But those pale to the impact she made as the "The Queen of Kiwi".

    Beats "The Queen of Chinese Gooseberry", that's for sure.

    Verdict: Jew.

    April 10, 2020

    See Also

    Pa Grape

    Nigella Lawson

    Irene Rosenfeld


    Molly Yeh
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