Recorded on 02/09/2021

Growing Season: Building the Family Business

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Recorded February 9, 2021.

Sarah Frey is the definition of the American Dream. Raised as the youngest of 21 kids in rural Illinois, Sarah overcame her difficult childhood to launch her own fresh produce delivery business at just 15 years old. Several years later, she had earned enough money to buy her family’s failing farm and began brokering deals with some of the biggest names in the grocery business. Today, Sarah has grown Frey Farms into one of the country’s largest produce suppliers with 15,000 acres of farmland in seven states – stretching from Missouri to Florida. The New York Times has even named her the “Pumpkin Queen of America” because her company sells the most pumpkins of any producer in the United States.

Learn how Sarah overcame the odds to create her produce enterprise from her family’s struggling farm. Leading the conversation is Cresset advisory board member Laura Desmond – a highly regarded industry game changer, true innovator and the lead architect of reinventing and building the agency of the future. Hear how Sarah she refused to play by the traditional rules as a teenager by brokering deals with the nation’s largest retailers including one deal she made with Walmart that is still used today by Harvard Business School as a case study on the art of negotiation. In addition, hear stories as detailed in her new memoir The Growing Season about how her difficult childhood provided Sarah with the grit and resiliency that have enabled her to thrive as CEO and Founder. Learn why Sarah decided to stay and invest in the community she dreamed of escaping as a child and how she is striving to end food waste in the fresh produce industry by making innovative natural food products and beverages from imperfect or “ugly fruit.”

Although Sarah Frey’s success may be somewhat surprising given her tough childhood growing up in a family with 21 children, when you hear her single-minded determination, spirit and courage, it should become abundantly clear that a woman like Sarah Frey was born to create and to lead.

About Sarah Frey

Frey Farms is a Certified Woman Owned Business founded by Sarah Frey in 1992. Today, Headquartered in Keenes, IL, Sarah and her four older brothers operate farms and facilities in seven states. Frey Farms distributes its fruits and vegetables throughout the country through its Sarah’s Homegrown label. With a mission to end food waste in the fresh produce industry, the family makes natural food products and beverages from imperfect or “ugly fruit”. They feature a complete line of juices through Sarah’s Homegrown Tsamma Watermelon Juice.

Sarah Frey has been described by the New York Times as “the Pumpkin Queen of America”. Sarah sells more pumpkins than any other producer in the United States. Her family business, Frey Farms, plants thousands of acres of fruits and vegetables in Florida and six other states.

She is the author of The Growing Season: How I Built a New Life–and Saved an American Farm published by Random House in August of 2020. Sarah will serve as Co-Executive Producer of the upcoming ABC television production of The Growing Season based on her story

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