News and Stories

Expanding the Markon First Crop Program on the East Coast

December 19, 2012

Just one of the many strawberry fields located in Plant City, Florida 

I love to travel. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy my job as a Markon inspector so much—I get to see so many different types of growing regions across the country and around the world. On my most recent trip, Markon’s Director of Purchasing, Mike Downey and I had the pleasure of traveling to key growing districts in Florida and visiting with the farmers and shippers who pack Markon First Crop (MFC) products. While there, we discussed our ongoing goal of increasing the availability of MFC items like bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, squash, and strawberries on the East Coast.


Florida growers face their own set of challenges, compared to those in the Arizona and California regions. For example, because the air is much more humid, insects and reptiles are more pervasive problems. Frequent/heavy rainstorms, hurricane-force winds, and freezing temperatures often decimate entire crops. And of course, farm labor shortages affect these growers as well, especially since they are not located near the border where many workers typically cross for seasonal employment. 


The challenges for us, the inspectors, are varied too. Many of these East Coast growing regions are much more spread out and have shorter seasons with more frequent transition periods than the West Coast, but thankfully Markon has a network of great grower-shippers that pack MFC Green Bell Peppers, MFC Cucumbers, and MFC Squash.  


I’m glad I was given this opportunity to further the expansion of our MFC program in the region and look forward to our return visits as we move closer to our goal. I can’t wait to see how things progress—I’ll be sure to report back!