Named first Trailblazer Award winner for the food and beverage industry

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 inaugural recipient of the award is Sarah Frey, founder and CEO of Frey Farms. This award is for pioneers in agriculture, technology, grocery, logistics, investment and more. TPM has so far hosted nearly 300 guests from the food and beverage value chain The Produce Moms podcast.

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

From left to right: Sarah Frey, Lori Taylor

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

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 operating a melon route out of her pickup truck, Frey took over the family farm and began doing business with the largest supermarkets in the country. She has since developed a vertically integrated beverage business that has successfully competed with large scale CPG beverage companies. Frey Farms is now the largest producer of cold-pressed watermelon juice in the US, serving both retail and foodservice under the Tsamma (sah-mah) and Sarah’s Homegrown brands.

“We have been distributing Frey Farms beverages for just under five years, with the watermelon agua fresca being a bestseller in more than 10,000 restaurants,” said Jack Blaida, Performance Foodservice, National Category Manager. “We are excited to applaud Sarah as the inaugural recipient of this award.”

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

Frey’s vision has also led to improvements such as converting school buses into harvest trucks. Before that, crews dragged heavy watermelons into bins. This use of buses has become an industry standard. Her actions also led to her story being published as a memoir, The growing season.

For more information:
Terri Mouton
The Produce Moms
Tel: +1 (818) 929-4255

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