Mark Cassius Discusses Latest Fresh Produce Venture: Modern Veg Farms
- by Jordan Okumura
RIO RICO, AZ - While I can only boast single digits to represent my time in the fresh produce industry, I can easily say that they have been very rich and fruitful ones. Pun intended. Walking the trade show floors during those first couple events was an exciting, overwhelming, and humbling experience—and still is today and there is nothing like a familiar face to part the crowd. During my first year at AndNowUKnow, I had the pleasure of meeting industry veteran Mark Cassius. Not only did he share a pint of tomatoes with me, but also he gave me one of my first lessons in produce. But that story is for another time—I have a better one for you.
With 2019 already building momentum, Mark has launched a new venture in the industry he loves best, ours. The man himself joins me to talk shop about Modern Veg Farms and what it means to him and the industry at large.
“For many years, I have been working with, and had the privilege of meeting, many amazing growers from Mexico. Many of these operations are family farms passed from one generation to the next. They have been passionate about quality and upgrading their production technology to meet the demand of the trade and consumer preferences for safe quality food,” Mark shares with me. “These growers have been investing in protected agriculture for many years now, and the results are beautiful and flavorful produce."
When Mark reflects on the last few years he tells me that he has been discussing the opportunity to emphasize these trends with key grower partners, and thus, Modern Veg Farms was born.
"This conversation began about eight years ago, but timing is everything. Fast forward to today, and the timing is perfect,” he says. “Our mission is to bring fresh produce to market direct from our grower partners to the trade in the U.S. and Canada."
So, what is the goal of Modern Veg? To highlight the investment in protected agriculture, world-class quality, and freshness by his team and their grower partnerships.
Modern Veg currently offers custom packing services at its production facilities in Mexico or in the company’s warehouse in Rio Rico, Arizona. Additionally, Modern Veg offers consolidation services to its key customers. The company’s portfolio is a mix of core products including eggplant, cucumbers, seedless cucumbers, vine-ripened romas and round tomatoes, as well as red bell peppers, green bell peppers, melons, and mangos.
“The advantages and benefits of partnering with our company on the supply and also the retail front, are many, including a direct link to the grower to provide fresh quality fruits and vegetables from the farm to the store,” he shares. “Our current growing region is in the Sinaloa Valley, but we have plans to expand our reach to Central Mexico this summer and Sonora in the fall, as long as we can maintain our mission of growing freshness every day we will add areas.”
As Mark and his team continue to grow the company, Modern Veg will set its sights high, building a strong foundation for the operation that adds value to its grower partners, customers, and the team’s quality reputation as well.
“Our grower partners have invested in the social welfare of their workforce in Mexico as well as their concern for the environment that they live and work,” Mark reflects. “Our product is a reflection of our commitment to the people in this industry and the land. It is an exciting time ahead and we look forward to bringing others into the fold who share our same values and dedication to excellence.”
Congrats, Mark, on this new fresh produce venture! We can’t wait to see the great things to come as you pave the road ahead.