The Economic Research Service, a division of the United States Department of Agriculture, reported on September 5, 2012 that 6.8 million families in the U.S. are challenged with food security on a daily basis. This is a disheartening statistic in a time where Americans are better than ever at producing high quality and high yielding healthy fruits and vegetables. As a country, we have one of the most advanced systems for supporting those in need through government assistance programs and local outreach, yet there are still over 15% of our nation’s families plagued by this problem. Meanwhile in recent news, a casino in Minnesota made the record books by preparing the World’s Largest Cheeseburger weighing in at over one ton. This cheesy indulgence is a reminder to me that as Americans and as humans, we need to stay grounded in the reality of what we do on a day-to-day basis.
The culture at Markon couldn't be more relevant to this topic. I think that staying grounded and focusing on the people behind the produce is what drives many of the initiatives we are working on today. Markon’s president Tim York discussed the importance of food safety in his Nation’s Restaurant News article not as a strategic marketing advantage, but as a value that people matter to Markon. In previous blog posts we noted that Markon just concluded our Eighth Annual Markon Summit where we met with over 110 people from all over North America to tour fields and demonstrate the relationships that we’ve fostered with the people that have grown our products over our 27-year history. All of these activities relate back to our goals and serve a relevant purpose.
Now is the time that many in the produce industry gear up for one of the two major harvesting transitions of the year. This is when we earn our stripes in the produce industry—the time we move from Northern California to new growing regions in Yuma, Arizona. In the purchasing department we consistently ask ourselves “Is this task moving the needle forward?” Because we know that we can rely on our quality control inspectors, food safety, purchasing, accounting, customer support, and marketing teams to secure the finest-quality produce at the right place and at the right time, the answer is yes. We remember that we are all links in the great food chain and stay focused on what serves the industry and people the most.