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November 17, 2022

Lori Taylor, founder and CEO of The Produce Moms® announced this week the creation of The Produce Moms Trailblazer Award, which recognizes an individual who has made a unique contribution to the food and beverage industry. The first recipient of the award is Sarah Frey, founder and CEO, Frey Farms. This award is for pioneers in agriculture, technology, grocery, logistics, investment and more. To date, TPM has hosted nearly 300 guests from the food and beverage value chain on The Produce Moms Podcast.

“This award will be given annually, just before Thanksgiving. After all, much of what we are grateful for in business and in life is due to a courageous trailblazer, and Sarah Frey is the epitome of a trailblazer,” says Taylor.

Left to right: Sarah Frey, Lori Taylor

“Being the first recipient of this award is very meaningful to me, and it is not an honor I take lightly,” says Frey. “I hope I can inspire others with my story to follow their heart and do what is right to improve our community and our planet. My heartfelt thanks go to Lori and the entire community of The Produce Moms for this honor.”

Frey’s story is one of hard work, perseverance and pioneering. She grew up in rural poverty on a struggling farm in southern Illinois. At age 15, she started a fresh produce delivery business out of the bed of an old pickup truck and is now the leading producer of pumpkins, earning Frey the nickname “America’s Pumpkin Queen.”

Within two years of driving a melon route out of his pickup truck, Frey took over the family farm and began dealing with the largest grocery retailers in the country. She has since developed a vertically integrated beverage business that has successfully competed with major CPG beverage companies. Frey Farms is now the largest producer of cold-pressed watermelon juice in the United States, distributing to both retail and foodservice under the Tsamma (sah-mah) and Sarah’s Homegrown brands.

“We’ve been distributing Frey Farms beverages for just under five years, with its watermelon agua fresca being a top seller in over 10,000 restaurants,” said Jack Blaida, performance foodservice, national category manager. “We enthusiastically welcome Sarah as the first recipient of this award.”

Frey’s negotiating skills with Walmart were turned into a Harvard Business Review case study, and a few years ago Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, recognized Frey as an example of Walmart’s commitment to women-owned businesses.

Frey’s vision has also resulted in improvements such as converting school buses into harvesters. Before this, crews hauled heavy watermelons to bins. This use of buses has become an industry standard. Her actions have also led to her story being published as a memoir, The Growing Season.

For more information: Terri MoutonThe Produce MomsTel: +1 (818)