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Al Lanfeld Writes To Frieda Caplan: Exemplifying A Kind-Hearted Industry

The great thing about producing the Perishable Pundit is that because we have an incredibly engaged readership we have an opportunity to interact with both the best and the brightest and those who contribute most to the advancement of the industry — from all around the world.

This engagement is obvious from both the letters we publish in the Pundit and those who volunteer to add to the great discussions in the Pundit.

It goes beyond that, though, often spurring a call to duty. We just have to publish that the American Council on Science and Health needs and merits help, as we did in our piece Thanksgiving Chemicals, and Matt Curry, President at Curry & Company, stands up and says he wants to contribute to this worthy cause. We simply have to explain that we need one person to complete the class at the United Fresh Produce Executive Development Program, as we did in our piece Hope To See You At United Fresh/Cornell Executive Development Program. And next thing you know the seat is filled.

Now we also know that Pundit readers also are big-hearted. We ran a piece titled, Get Well Wishes For Frieda Caplan, in which we pointed out that Frieda Rapoport Caplan, Founder at Frieda’s, Inc., had undergone serious surgery and was now doing well and recovering at home. As Frieda has been around awhile and is known by many, we suggested that those who wished to do so might want to send her a get-well note.

Now these notes went directly to Frieda and we don’t know who e-mailed her or what they said. But a few people sent us notes telling us that they had written Frieda. For example, this one came from a senior member of the industry:

Thanks for your info on Frieda, whom I have known since she started in business. Her deceased husband, Al Caplan, was a past president of an ILWU local union, with whom Friedman Bag-L.A. had a Union contract for our factory workers. (I was President of Friedman Bag, and negotiated Union contacts for our Factory employees with Al Caplan).

I was with Friedman Bag (now out of business), from 1949 to 2003, and then I started our own packaging sales business, Garner-Lanfeld Packaging, in 2003. I sent Frieda an email message, since you were kind enough to give all of your “Pundit” readers her email address. .

I always enjoy visiting with you at your PMA booth, and reading your “excellent and very informative” articles.

I have been in the “bag supply business” (mainly Onion, Potato, and Citrus bags) for the past 61 years and hope to continue to do so until I “retire to the cemetery”. I have now supplied bags to three generations of many of our customers.

Keep up the “good work” you do for the Produce Industry!

— Al Lanfeld
Garner-Lanfeld Packaging-L.A.
Auburn, California

Then Frieda herself was kind enough to copy us on the note she sent Mr. Lanfeld:

Just getting your e-mail brought back lots of memories… especially the picket lines at FRIEDMAN BAG!

Alvin, I remember you well… if you are around 86, then we are about the same age.

Yes, Jim Prevor’s comments brought over a 1,000 e-mails from around the world… and they are still comingl.

— Frieda

We are, of course, pleased Frieda is doing well and that Al Lanfeld and Frieda Caplan could reminisce a bit about old times.

We also wanted to raise a glass to our incredibly engaged and big-hearted readers. It is no little thing for over 1,000 industry members to do anything. To do something that is essentially an act of kindness is incredibly generous and makes us incredibly proud of the community we’ve built here at the Pundit.

L’Chaim to all who took a moment to send Frieda a note as well and all those who engage with us every day to help make the industry better. In the end, work, like the personal side of life, is made tolerable by the quality of people one interacts with. We are lucky to have a chance to interact with you.

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