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Maximize March Madness Opportunities: Make Produce the Star of your Appetizer Menu

March Madness basketball sport design. Basketball tournament logo, emblem, designs with basketball ball.

Get Creative with Shareable Offerings

The month of March means basketball to millions of fans. Now’s the time to create LTOs and targeted menus for groups coming together to watch the games. Here are five great ways to enhance your March Madness offerings with fresh produce from Markon.

  • With price of chicken wings going up and the flexitarian trend gaining traction, vegetarian cauliflower “wings” are a viable option that keep budgets in check while offering variety.
  • Sharable, mix-and-match bar snacks like garlic hummus, guacamole, and house-made pimiento are crowd pleasers that can be pre-made for easy plating and labor savings. Offer fresh produce (RSS Celery, Baby Carrots, Broccoli and Cauliflower Florets, even RSS Melon Chunks) as healthy accompaniments.
  • Fried mushrooms are a classic appetizer that becomes exciting again when made with panko breadcrumbs and MFC Herbs and served with global sauces. And why stop at mushrooms? The same technique can be used with RSS Brussels Sprout Halves, Onion Rings, and Sweet Baby Broccoli.
  • The beverage menu is a big priority for game-watching customers. Keep your cocktail/mocktail menu full of modern drinks with impactful flavors and colors such as matcha, mint, turmeric and yuzu. Special garnishes like edible flowers, charred chile peppers, and cocoa nibs also create excitement as well as boost social media engagement.
  • Don’t forget the sweets! Supplement everyone’s favorite, chocolate, with vivid berries and creamy bananas. Or go global with on-trend tropical fruit desserts using RSS Pineapple Chunks, passion fruit, mango, and guava. Hand-held and sharable plating works best for busy game watchers.

About Markon
Markon Cooperative, Inc. brings a fresh approach and thinking to all of its premium farm-to-table produce so foodservice operators can bring the freshest ideas to their consumers. Based in Salinas, California, Markon serves as the produce purchasing, logistics, information, and marketing partner for its five member distributors (Ben E. Keith Foods, Gordon Food Service, Gordon Food Service Canada, Nicholas & Company, and Shamrock Foods) and their North American foodservice customers. Learn more about Markon’s commitment to providing the highest-quality, safest, and freshest produce at

Diners are increasingly hyper-focused on high-protein and plant-based foods. Alongside all of the new-fangled, lab-based, cell-cultured options out there is the humble bean. A staple food for millenia, beans are being re-examined as a healthy, versatile ingredient worthy of menu inclusion.

  • Retro and heirloom recipes—like Southern succotash, French cassoulet, and Cajun red beans and rice—fit the bill for those in search of authenticity.
  • Most world cuisines incorporate some type of bean in their classic dishes. Think feijoada in Brazil, black beans and rice with plantains in Puerto Rico, and garbanzo beans in Israel. Modern interpretations of these recipes are packed with produce and herbs.
  • The creamy texture of mung beans is proving an ideal substitute for those that are eliminating soy from their diets.