Sarah Frey was barely into her 20s when she struck a deal with Walmart for her family’s company, Frey Farms, to supply watermelons and pumpkins to the retailer’s stores across the U.S. The relationship with Walmart helped Frey Farms, which had recently emerged from near foreclosure, become one of the largest suppliers of fresh produce in America, one with farmland in seven states and total sales exceeding $1 billion.
Frey’s ability to win over Walmart buyers was documented in a case study published by Harvard Business School about how she successfully negotiated a deal with the world’s largest retailer.
In an interview included in this episode, Frey spoke about how she engineered Frey Farms’ remarkable turnaround despite having no formal business training, how she identified and utilized advantages her company had over larger competitors and how she navigated Walmart’s corporate culture. She also explained why the key to farming is managing risk, how consumers’ relationship with food has evolved during the Covid era and what she’s learned about building a beverage company as the founder of watermelon juice brand Tsamma.
In this Episode
|0:39: Interview: Sarah Frey, Founder & CEO, Frey Farms — Frey spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about why she is affectionately known as “America’s Pumpkin Queen,” how hard work was instilled in her from an early age and how her upbringing shaped her perspective on food. She also explained how her entrepreneurial spirit emerged when she began selling pumpkins out of the back of a pickup truck when she was 17, how she learned about building a business and why small businesses will always have an advantage over corporations. Later, she explained why “you need two good years out of five to make it in farming,” the importance of access to healthy food at affordable prices and the only way that products made with upcycled ingredients can be successful.|