“Fear No Fruit” – The Documentary

From the Director:

Feature documentary Fear No Fruit chronicles Frieda Caplan’s rise from being the first woman entrepreneur on the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market in the 1960s, to transforming American cuisine by introducing over 200 exotic fruits and vegetables to U.S. supermarkets.

Still an inspiration at 91, Frieda’s daughters and granddaughter carry on the business legacy. Written, Directed and Produced by Mark Brian Smith. Copyright Fear No Fruit Productions, 2014.

Interview with “Fear No Fruit” Director Mark Brian Smith


 

AH: How did you come to know about the important life work of Frieda Caplan?

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MS:I heard about Frieda Caplan through a friend whose wife worked at Frieda’s Inc. I met with them to talk about doing a documentary to tell her story. After researching her history I immediately wanted to be part it, knowing that everything I was about to learn, my audience would as well. It’s a fascinating “who knew” story about a celebrity in her inner circle and industry who vastly transcends it.

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AH: In the process of making this film, what did you learn about the distribution of food through the L.A. Wholesale Produce market?

MBS:I learned that the location was chosen wisely because of its central location to the airports, trains and ports, and how much the operation has transformed and grown over the years. When Frieda was there on the 7th Street Market in the 50’s & 60’s it was very contained. I was also taken by how there are many variables, including our current drought, that affect the outcome and crops being purchased and shipped from there. Costs and demand are continuously fluctuating, products are coming in from local growers and outside countries due to their seasonality, and certain products need to be refrigerated or climate controlled in transport.

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AH:Please tell us about your “a-ha” moment when you realized you wanted to bring this incredible story to light via documentary?

MBS:My “ah-ha” moment happened when I discovered how I wanted to treat the arc of the story through a triad of layered and tied themes, using Frieda as the primary voice. Those being Frieda’s history, achievements & legacy, the 3 generations of women in a family owned and run business, and Frieda’s company mission and what challenges they face to achieve it. If I could balance those 3 elements wisely and make it an educational, emotional and entertaining ride, I knew we had the goods. Everyone involved in the film was clear that this was a tribute to Frieda and we wanted the world to know her story.

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AH:Now that the film is completed, what is it about the subject that resonated the most for you?

MBS:Without a doubt I was most impressed by Frieda’s drive, passion, and positive take on things, especially at her age. She’s tireless and presses for positive change every day. I absorbed a lot from her and her family and we created a trust and bond because of it. It’s truly mind blowing to read the list of produce items that they’ve assisted in bringing to America that’s transformed the way we eat – fruits and vegetables that are commonplace now. There’s many great documentaries being produced but most are about troubling and controversial subject matter. This film is an American success story, with rich, deep-seeded history.

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AH:What lies ahead for the film?

MBS:We’re currently unveiling the film now, slowly through the film festival circuit, and hope to launch on numerous digital platforms this spring or summer. Filmbuff is representing the picture and assisting us in best utilizing the global appeal of the subject matter and finding an audience. What I tried to accomplish was for the film to translate universally and not just cater to the “foodies” and “ag” world, who will really enjoy it. At the core, it has to be a great story to tell, no matter what the subject.

Follow them on Twitter: @FearNoFruit
Find them on Facebook.com/FearNoFruit
Website: www.fearnofruit.com


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“So we’ve been to the farm, we have some amazing Rhubarb”

Wellocks – The Search for the Perfect Rhubarb

Film courtesy of the Wellocks

To find the home of the perfect rhubarb stalk, we headed to the heart of the Yorkshire triangle to Tomlinsons – one of only a handful of forced rhubarb farmers.

Visit Wellocks: wellocks.co.uk
Follow them on Twitter: @jameswellock

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Testing a Trio: Prairie Strips, Row Crops and Birds

Video from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Iowa farmers can create vital habitat for grassland birds by incorporating small strips of native prairies into row-cropped fields. Anna MacDonald, ISU graduate student in wildlife ecology, discusses a Leopold Center research project at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge.

To learn more, visit the STRIPS Research Team website: nrem.iastate.edu/research/STRIPs

Follow them on Vimeo: STRIPS Conservation Agriculture channel

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Our Orchard

“…everything is alive here and nature becomes my family”

Video by: The Film Artist

About the film, from TFA:

I made this film many years ago but today 14.09.2014 I was reminded of yesterday. Eight years ago from today, I found myself here on this untouched land. I had never set foot in the countryside before. My friend who had just turned 16 tragically passed away earlier that day in his sleep, his whole life ahead of him lost forever. A year later by extraordinary fate I found myself the new guardian of this land and so the journey had begun.

Together with my family, friends and local people we created this place, breathing life into it. I feel my friend’s presence whenever I’m here. I’m not alone, everything is alive here and nature becomes my family. This is a glimpse of ‘Our Orchard’ to share with you. Dedicated to all our lost loved ones. Music – A R Rahman Connections, Himalaya. Many thanks to Paul Hamilton & Christine Schmitthenner for their priceless feedback.

Connect with TFA:
On Twitter@thefilmartist
On Facebookfacebook.com/thefilmartistHD
On Vimeovimeo.com/channels/tfa

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Ferment

Profile of the 2014 Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

A profile of Sandor Katz, winner of the 2014 Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award.

Film courtesy of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi.

For more SFA films, visit www.southernfoodways.org.

Follow them on Twitter: @potlikker

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Land of Milk and Honey

Independent food makers cooperatively working together and thriving

Documentary by: Russell Cavanagh

Land of Milk and Honey is a documentary about local food producers based on the outskirts of Sheffield, and their place in the local communities of the city. At this time when supermarkets are the default choice for most consumers, it’s good to know that different, high quality produce is available. This film goes behind the scenes and illustrates the real stories behind these two successful ventures.

Contack Russell Cavanagh at: russellcavanagh.co.uk

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Interview with Chef Suzanne Florek, Founder of Salty Fig

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“Salty Fig is a website where the concept of sharing flourishes”


AH: Please tell us about your background as a food consultant and professional Chef.

SF:I’ve been in love with food from an early age, developed by the fact that my mom was a fabulous cook. I grew up in Madrid for 3 years; somehow all those flavors and food experiences, continue to influence and guide my passion for food.

My career has developed on a windy path with my husband and three boys that has somehow led to a balance between my career and family. Life comes in stages and you can have everything, just not all at the same time. I graduated both the Kelley School of Business and the Culinary Institute of America. Worked under Tony Mantuano to take the helm of the kitchen at Spiaggia, 5 star Italian restaurant in Chicago. The creation of Tuttaposto, the first Mediterranean tapas restaurant in Chicago was a pinnacle of creativity in my career.

The second phase of my career as a food consultant has involved translating my understanding of food and flavors to the creation of new products for food manufacturers. Working in tandem with food scientists and marketing teams I have had the opportunity to work on many different products in the food industry.

 Suzanne Florek Mural Midway Airport

AH: Please tell us about the community at Salty Fig.

SF:Salty Fig is a website where the concept of sharing flourishes. We are an online space where food traditions and recipes can be found, saved, organized and signature e-cookbooks featuring your favorites can be created and shared with fans, friends and loved ones.

The mark of any great brand today is one that proves it’s relevance by fostering a conversation and making it a part of a larger, collective discussion online. Salty Fig is one of the unique websites that helps both its users and sponsor brands connect and converse about their passion for great food. These relationships have an unlimited ability to grow and evolve through multiple sharing of e-publishing tools.

 

AH:How would you advise inexperienced or nervous would-be-cooks to best use Salty Fig?

SF:We have Dear Martini’s videos listed as our “House” videos, they are phenomenal short instructional videos on how to do just about anything in the kitchen, plus they are fun.

When novice cooks find a recipe that works for them, book mark it on Salty Fig, by adding the URL to their recipe collection. Success breeds success in anything, make it again. Then try something new. I write the “House” recipes with detailed instructions, they are a good place to try something new.

 

AH:Please tell us about the e-recipe books users can make at Salty Fig.

SF:Salty Fig is designed to have the user save their recipes on Salty Fig. After the user has several saved they can create e-Cookbooks.

For the home cook: Salty Fig’s signature e-cookbooks are an innovation designed distinctly for food enthusiasts to collect, save, share, and e-publish their favorite online recipes for family and friends. A dinner party theme, a kids favorite foods, mom’s easy meals for her college kid in a new apartment.

For artisanal food manufacturers or bloggers: To bring their one dimensional archived recipes to life with customizable video, photo, music and info graphics and tell a lifestyle story for promotional purposes, fundraising or profit.

AH:Will you share with us one of your favorite recipes for Valentines day?

Of course, here is a Guinness Chocolate Chip Cake and our Valentine e-Recipe Book


To learn more about Salty Fig visit: saltyfig.com
Follow on Twitter: @saltyfig

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Apple Bundt Cake Recipe

Video from Le Gourmet TV, to learn more visit at: legourmet.tv

Apples and orange juice give this cake a tangy flavour, and keep it super moist!

Follow Le Gourmet TV on twitter: @LeGourmetTV

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Latinos in Agriculture Leader Profile | Karyssa Zavala

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Interview with Latino in Agriculture Leader
Karyssa Zavala, Student
 


USDA Internship

“I intend to promote U.S. agricultural interests overseas, especially regarding market development and trade policies.”


 

AH:What is your specific area of study in agriculture?

KZ:My specific area of interest in international agricultural development involves the human rights of smallholder farmers; particularly women. Nearly 80 percent of smallholder farmers worldwide are women, of whom produce 90 percent of food in Africa and half of all food worldwide. However, the disproportionate trend that exists today involves women experiencing limited access to land, credit, inputs, agricultural training and information compared to their male counterparts. Empowering and investing in women has been shown to significantly increase productivity, protect the environment, reduce hunger and malnutrition, and improve livelihoods. Moreover, women are statistically more likely to invest in their families’ and communities’ health, further enhancing the quality of life for an increasing global population. As a result, my interest in addressing the need for increased access and authority for women smallholder farmers serves relevant to resolving existing inadequacies regarding global nutrition and economic development.

 


Congressman Hinojosa

AH: What are your long-term professional goals in agriculture?

KZ:My long-term professional goal is to serve as a Foreign Service Officer for the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I intend to promote U.S. agricultural interests overseas, especially regarding market development and trade policies. I believe my degree program will enable me to provide applicable policy recommendations and effectively communicate within the Agency and across the public and private sector. In particular, this interdisciplinary curriculum will challenge my skills in agricultural policy analysis and serve as guidance for real world experience. As a Foreign Service Officer, I intend to address gender issues associated with sustainable, economic growth for both the U.S. and global agricultural sectors. Furthermore, I anticipate speaking with key government officials to evaluate and formulate policies increasing access to income and employment for women smallholder farmers in developing nations.


Grandparents

AH:How has the work of both your father and grandfather as migrant workers from Mexico informed your study choices?

KZ:As a third-generation Mexican-American, I have a deeper appreciation for the struggles faced by my father and grandfather as migrant workers in the agricultural sector. By understanding the hardships they faced in both Mexico and the United States, I further developed expertise in agricultural policy for Hispanic migrant workers. During my former service with the Office of Congressman Rubén Hinojosa and U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., I addressed the correlation between comprehensive immigration reform and the agricultural workforce in the United States. Migrant farm labor primarily supports the billion dollar fruit and vegetable industry of our nation. Not only does this cheap labor help keep down domestic food prices, but it employs migrant workers who would otherwise have no income to feed their families. However, there must be legal principles set for the agricultural industry to provide migrant workers with full labor rights, protection from discrimination, and a reasonable path to permanency that lifts wages and working conditions. As the daughter and granddaughter of migrant farm workers, I learned it is my responsibility to use my knowledge and experiences to enable smallholder farmers who would otherwise have limited authority or capacity to address their needs.


Aggie Family

AH:You are interested in addressing the lacking support for women’s involvement in the full agricultural value chain, how do you hope to do this?

KZ:I believe my demonstrated experience and interest in creating sustainable, interdisciplinary methods of community development serves applicable to addressing the lacking support for women’s involvement in the full agricultural value chain. For example, I currently serve as an ambassador for three international social enterprises that provide opportunities and resources for emerging young leaders to promote social entrepreneurship and global citizenship in their home countries and around the world. As a Thought For Food mentor, I have assisted University students from both the United States and Kenya with developing project proposals addressing nutrition and economic development among rural, youth and women of both Kenya and Rwanda. Moreover, my leadership and involvement in One Young World and World Merit has enabled me to address the need for women smallholder farmers to receive both the dignity and support they deserve for ensuring our global food supply. This is the leadership I envision for my future and I believe the value from empowering women smallholder farmers around the world will continue to serve life-changing.

HACU Internship

AH:What advice do you have for those considering attending the 2015 Latinos in Agriculture Leaders Conference?

KZ:I was truly impressed by the ambition and humility of the young, Hispanic leaders I had the fortune of meeting at the 2014 Latinos in Agriculture Leaders Conference. I acknowledged the majority of conference attendees were first-generation college students, whose parents worked as migrant laborers from countries such as Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil. I had the opportunity to share about my experience in international agricultural development, and explained how I intend to address the human rights of smallholder farmers; particularly women. As a result, I had both students and professionals approach me during the conference, and it gave me such reinvigoration for the personal and professional goals I have set for my life. My advice to those interested in attending the 2015 Conference would be to form authentic relationships with the students and professionals in attendance, as these colleagues will continue to inspire and empower you throughout your individual journeys in life.

To learn more about Latinos in Agriculture visit: latinosinagriculture.com

Follow on Twitter: @LatinosInAg

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Agribusiness for Women

A Project of Michigan State University & the University of Rwanda

Video from Michigan State University

Closer look at the USAID supported project to provide higher education for women in Rwanda as they transform the agriculture industry in the East African nation.

Follow Michigan State University on Twitter: @CANRatMSU

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