News and Stories

FROM THE FIELDS: Tender Leaf Quality

June 08, 2015


Markon suppliers of Ready-Set-Serve tender leaf items such as RSS Arugula, Spinach, and Spring Mix have initiated summertime Standard Operating Practices (SOPs). These SOPs will reduce the number of cases produced per hour, but are gentler on the product. As days and sunlight hours grow longer, these items grow at an accelerated rate, causing thinner leaf texture and higher respiration rates. Management of field irrigation before harvests, as well as a reduction in the amount of pounds per bin/tote are just two of the practices that are adjusted during this time of year.


Light showers in May followed by recent warm temperatures increased mildew pressure and reduced shelf-life. Suppliers have not been harvesting fields that are over mature; growers continue to monitor incoming quality more stringently in order to select the best available supplies. These practices have improved finished product quality this week, but sporadic issues may still develop throughout the product’s shelf-life.


The following is a list of sporadic quality and/or shelf-life concerns that the industry is currently facing:


  • Thin/brittle texture in some tender leaf varieties
  • Elevated mechanical damage
  • Higher respiration rates
  • Increased insect pressure
  • Condensation/moisture in finished packs
  • Shortened shelf-life
  • Yellowing leaves (particularly in arugula)


Markon would like to remind all members that proper cold-chain management remains a critical part of maximizing shelf-life potential in all perishable produce items, especially during this time of year when growing conditions are not optimal. Ordering for quick turns is highly recommended.


Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.


John Galvez

Quality Assurance


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