Western Grower & Shipper 2018 03MarApr


Steve Martori III CEO/President Martori Farms Scottsdale, AZ

Director Since 2017 | Member Since 1966

Fourth Generation Leading Martori Farms in its 2 nd Century

A LONG & WINDING HISTORY: Peter Martori, grandfather of former WG Chairman, longtime board member and Award of Honor recipient Steve Martori II, started the family business as wholesale vendor in New York City. The company migrated to Chicago and became a distributor years later under the tutelage of the second generation, which included Arthur Martori and his brother Stephen Martori. In the 1950s, the firm started acquiring farms in Arizona and California. Somewhere along the line, the farming operation, Martori Farms, took center stage. Arthur Martori was the father of Steven Martori II and the grandfather of current CEO/President Steve Martori III, who recently followed in the footsteps of his father

Yuma, but Arizona is its home. Steve III said California is always tempting as he calls it “the best place in the world to farm. You always have to weigh that against the regulatory environment which makes it difficult. We are an Arizona company, but I will always reserve the right to look at other farming regions.” MELONS ARE THE COMPANY’S FORTE: Martori Farms has long been noted for its cantaloupes and its Kandy brand. There are several articles written years ago in which Steve Martori II credited the advent of the Walmart Supercenters with propelling Martori Farms to the next level. The firm initially supplied Walmart with cantaloupes as it opened its first Supercenter in 1991 and grew along with that retail giant. Steve III said cantaloupes are still king but the company is constantly trialing new varieties. It is well known for its exclusive Kandy Lemondrop melons. The green-fleshed melon features the sweet tartness of a lemon with hints of honeydew and watermelon. STEVE III’s PATH TO THE EXECUTIVE SUITE: Not all of Steve II’s kids were interested in pursuing a career on the farm, but his namesake son was. After graduating from University of Arizona in 2008 with a combination degree in agriculture and economics, Steve joined the family firm fulltime. He had worked since high school in one capacity or another, but this was now his full time calling. Over the next several years, he worked in virtually all the company’s operations, including sales, farming, harvesting and its real estate development arm. By 2012, he was well on his way to being the next generation to lead the company. Steve II started stepping

and joined the WG Board of Directors. “The family acquired farms in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s,” Steve III said. “Sometime in the ‘60s, the wholesale operation was closed and we concentrated on farming.” The firm does have some land on the California side of the border near

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