Mann Packing is throwing a yearlong birthday party as the family-owned Salinas, Calif., grower-shipper celebrates 75 years in business.
“We are honored and proud to celebrate our 75th anniversary in a very competitive industry often filled with trials and tribulations,” Lorri Koster, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “We credit our adherence to quality and ability to adapt to changing market needs as a key to our success. We thank our employees and growers for their contributions towards helping us reach this significant milestone.”
The celebration kicked off Feb. 27 when the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce recognized Mann Packing as the Large Business of the Year for 2014.
As part of the anniversary, Mann plans to retool its packaging and launch several products and packaging concepts, according to the release.
A planned highlight is the July 13 celebration for employees and guests that Mann will host at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Salinas.
Throughout the year, Mann Packing also plans to play up the anniversary at industry trade shows.
Mann Packing dates back to 1939, when H.W. “Cy” Mann — who ran a carrot packing operation — soon started growing broccoli for freezers. He also saw the potential for what was then a relatively unknown vegetable — broccoli — and began shipping it to America’s heartland.
Decades ago, Mann Packing, along with the Produce Marketing Association, funded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first market basket nutritional study of broccoli.
After the study’s findings were publicized, broccoli shipments increased 940% between 1970 and 1985, according to the release.
Mann elevated longtime employees Bill Ramsey and Don Nucci to partners in 1976. When Mann, who had no children, passed away in 1996, Ramsey and Nucci purchased his share of the company and became equal partners. The two families remain involved in the company today.
The grower-shipper has expanded far beyond its carrot and broccoli heritage and now offers lines of fresh and fresh-cut mostly cool-season vegetables that include broccoli cole slaw, Broccolini, stringless sugar snap peas, Simply Singles whole leaf products, Arcadian Harvest petite whole lettuce leaves, Better Burger leaf and Scarlett Butter lettuce.