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Women in Produce

The annual Women In Produce celebration recognizes the contributions of all women working in the produce industry, and selects one individual to share her personal experience.

This year’s Women In Produce celebration marks the 23rd anniversary of this special event. This year’s honoree will be the featured presenter during the Women in Produce LIVE! General Session on Tuesday, June 16 at Noon EDT during United Fresh LIVE! 

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This year’s honoree was selected from nominations submitted across the industry. Nominations are evaluated based on the candidate’s industry involvement and contributions, as well as their inspiration to the industry. 

Sarah FreyPresident and CEO of Frey Farms

Sarah Frey, President and CEO of Frey Farms, and Founder of Tsamma™ Watermelon Juice and Sarah’s Home Grown, will be the honoree and featured speaker at the Women in Produce LIVE! General Session at 12:00 noon Eastern, Tuesday, June 16, during United Fresh LIVE! Headquartered in rural Orchardville, IL, Frey Farms is a Certified Woman Owned Business that specializes in growing, packing, and shipping fresh market produce, including pumpkins and watermelons.

Sarah was raised on a small, 100-acre farm in southern Illinois, where at age eight, she and her mother would buy watermelons from local farmers and go store-to- store, making deliveries to local grocers. At age 16, she bought a truck and took over the distribution, and it wasn’t long before she grew her client list from 12 stores to more than 150.

At age 18, she bought the family business. As her business grew, Sarah’s brothers (Leonard, Harley, John, and Ted Frey), returned home to work with their younger sister, where they remain today. Today the company has growing operations in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois and in the panhandle of West Virginia.  Her story has been captured in a book, The Growing Season: How I built a new life and saved an American farm, which is being published by Random House and released on August 25, 2020.

While Frey Farms is known for their pumpkin operation, pumpkins are a small part of what they do. Frey Farms also produces watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet corn, hard winter squash and fall ornamentals. Watermelon is the predominant commodity which was the inspiration for Tsamma Watermelon Juice, the first and only bottled watermelon juice produced in the U.S.

Sarah is a past member of the United Fresh Board of Directors, and now serves on the United Fresh Government Relations Council and the National Watermelon Promotion Board. She also is a member of the Illinois Agriculture Coalition committee, assembled by the Governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner. 

Past Women in Produce Honorees

Dan’l Mackey Almy, DMA Solutions, Inc.
Tonya Antle, Organic Produce Network
Jan Berk, San Miguel Produce
Frieda Rapoport Caplan, Frieda’s Inc.
Karen Caplan, Frieda’s, Inc
Margaret D’Arrigo , Taylor Farms, Inc.
Jan DeLyser, California Avocado Commission
Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh Produce Association
Jan Fleming, Strube Celery & Vegetable Company
Joline Godfrey, An Income of her Own
JoAnn Hines, Women in Packaging
Janice Honigberg, Sun Belle, Inc.
Cindy Jewell, California Giant Berry Farms
Lorri Koster, Koster Communications, Coastal Grower Magazine
Julie Krivanek, Krivanek Consulting
Teri Miller, The Fresh Market
Lisa McNeece, Grimmway Enterprises Inc.
Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission
Dr. Martha Rhodes-Roberts, Roberts Associates
Steffanie Smith, Andrew Smith Company 
Heather Shavey, Costco Wholesale
Mayda Sotomayor-Kirk, Seald Sweet/Greenyard USA
Rosemary Talley, Talley Farms
Jenney Tenney, The Kroger Company
Claire Thornton, The Fresh Approach

For more information about the nomination process or the celebration, contact Amanda Griffin, Vice President, Education and Program Management, at 202.303.3412.