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  • Michelle Gill

Memories of a Surfboard

In 1978 I was 11 years old and touring the East Coast with my father Marvin Beach. We set out in his Motor home; a 40-foot Vogue Coach, that I recall having to hand clean, learning the value of hard work.

My Dad sold his 12 location, Marvin’s Markets Grocery Store chain in Southern California. He rolled the profits into dairy ingredient’s technology. We set out to perfect and commercialize this technology and process procedures for dairies in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. My father was a food scientist and worked with a team of East Coast college professors and dairy plant R&D Managers to optimize a whey ingredient from cottage cheese whey. Compare 12 was developed: a conditioned whey protein formulation, was used in fudge bars, imitation sour cream, and nondairy desserts. Whey was discarded at that time and and was an environmental and economic issue as it was sent down the drain.

Although these R&D Food Science projects were exciting and interesting, my #1 memory was purchasing a surfboard in a local shop in Atlantic City, New Jersey and surfing there. My first-time surfing was at the Santa Monica California pier, but Atlantic City was way better. The waves were huge for an 11-year-old, and I had a blast, we stayed a few days there and I remember my dad putting me on his shoulders and going out into the ocean. He almost drowned holding me up. It was so much fun for me, not so much for him.

I went on to live with mom in the San Fernando Valley California and went to college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo California. Following my dad‘s footsteps I majored in food science. I moved to Honolulu Hawaii to manage the Quality Assurance Department for Dole Pineapple. While I was there, I continued my passion for surfing that was influenced by our Atlantic City trip. I eventually competed in the trials for the Triple Crown and Pipe Masters on the North Shore.

When the Dole Hawaii cannery moved to Dole Thailand I relocated back to work with dad and developed Froterra, the zero dairy shake mix. My Dad has since passed away but more than anything I will always cherish my trip with Dad passing through Atlantic City.


Russ Beach is the owner of the Froterra brand, a zero dairy shake mix.

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