Markon: A History in Produce
This Reinhart partner has been a leader in quality produce distribution since 1985. Here's why.
Since 1985, Salinas, Calif.,-based Markon Cooperative, Inc., has been a leader in distribution of high-quality produce. With seven independent foodservice distributors across North America, including Reinhart Foodservice (publisher of Restaurant, Inc.), and $24 billion in annual sales, Markon works with more than 260 suppliers, big and small, including Driscolls, Dole and grower- and family-owned Church Brothers Farms. \The company has 70-plus distribution centers from British Columbia to New Orleans and New York to Phoenix — so they are able to get you fresh, sustainably grown produce whenever you need it.
During the more than 30 years since launching, Markon has been a leader in production and distribution of high-quality fruits and vegetables and now supplies more than 800 SKUs. We wanted to highlight just some of the company's accomplishments in sustainability, expert food quality and its commitment to good business practices.
- 1985 - Markon launches in Salinas, CA.
- 1986 - Markon is first company to focus solely on produce for foodservice.
- 1986 - Industrial Distribution magazine awards Markon the Innovative Distributor Trophy for its forward-thinking approach to the procurement and marketing of produce. The company also was chosen as Foodservice Distribution's Innovator of the Year.
- 1989 - Introduces method to ship ice-free products like broccoli, cilantro and parsley, thus reducing waste and mess.
- 1996 - Markon launches its Ready-Set-Serve line of pre-washed and ready-to-use fruits and vegetables. Then, knowing it would help reduce prep time in restaurants, the company introduced washed and trimmed green leaf and romaine lettuces. Finally, to adhere to the highest safety standards, Markon initiates its 5-Star Food Safety program, which goes on to be an industry leader.
- 2001 - Markon moves away from messy mesh produce bags and switches to shipping product, like onions, in easy-to-store cardboard boxes. Others in the industry follow suit.
- 2002 - After successfully introducing onion boxes, Markon lightens the load with a 40-pound celery pack, introducing lighter standard sizes making moving and lifting cartons easier for staff.
- 2006 - Company president Tim York teams with University of California, Davis to create the Center for Produce Safety. More than 10 years later, the organization continues to work with scientific, academic and government agencies to research and advance food safety practices.
- 2008 - Joins the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops as a founding member.
- 2010 - Happy 25th anniversary, Markon!
- 2012 - In a move to adopt real-time tech-based updates, Markon starts the practice of sending inspectors into the field during harvest to record live videos and real-time updates on weather, growing conditions and more.
- 2012 - In another savvy tech move, Markon launches its Produce Guide mobile app, offering recipes, nutritional information, pairing suggestions and more.
- 2013 - The company introduces Markon Essentials, a budget-friendly, year-round collection of necessary produce, including bell peppers, citrus, cucumbers and mushrooms.
- 2014 - The Markon Mobile Inspector app goes live, allowing inspectors to immediately communicate any concerns regarding food safety and quality conditions with photos, text and video.
- 2015 - Markon turns 30!
- 2016 - Yield Savings Calculator launches to let operators compare savings by ordering Markon’s Ready-Set-Serve and Markon First Crop products.
- 2017 - To help operators store produce at optimal temperatures, Markon introduces the Virtual Cooler.