Jessica A. Chittenden|
September 23, 2009
New York State Provides Funds to Boost Wholesale Farmers’ Market in the Bronx
Grant to Revive, Expand City’s Sole Wholesale Farmers’ Market at New Fulton Fish Market
The State of New York today awarded $296,000 to the Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC) to manage, promote and expand the city’s only wholesale farmers’ market, operating at the New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point in the Bronx. This special market, where mid-sized farmers sell directly to wholesale buyers, will join the city’s 50 other CENYC-managed Greenmarkets in providing farm fresh products to residents and businesses in New York City.
“This grant helps accomplish two goals of my administration,” Governor David A. Paterson said. “We want to improve the health and nutrition of New Yorkers with better access to fresh produce and help area farmers capture a larger share of the growing demand for food grown closer to home. With the guidance and experience of the Greenmarkets, this newly revived wholesale farmers’ market will offer small retailers, restaurants and distributors a wide assortment of fresh and local products at wholesale prices on a daily basis.”
First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson said, “We need to ensure that New Yorkers have access to wholesome foods, whether while shopping at their local grocery store or dining at a neighborhood restaurant. With this grant and the new management of CENYC, I am confident that the wholesale farmers’ market will thrive, providing the nutritious produce we need to keep our communities healthy.”
The $296,000 grant was awarded to CENYC in response to a Request for Proposals that sought professional management services for the Wholesale Farmers’ Market at the New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point. CENYC will need to develop, an effective and functional management structure for the market, including office-based and on-site supervision that will help facilitate profitable interaction between vendors and buyers. They will also be required to implement a plan to increase the number of New York State farmers participating in the market, expand the diversity of products offered and attract a wider assortment of wholesale buyers. CENYC will have a two-year contract with the State and will have the option to renew the contract for an additional two-year term.
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said, “The Market’s previous lack of full-time management and promotion, combined with its recent move to its current location, has resulted in fewer vendors and products at a time when the demand for locally grown fresh produce is actually growing exponentially in the City. We have identified one of the leading farmers’ market administrators in the country to manage this market and make it into a premier destination for retailers, restaurants and other small-scale wholesaler buyers in the City. We are excited to work with CENYC and look forward to the great work we know they will do.”
CENYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen said, “We’ve witnessed a burgeoning demand on behalf of businesses, hospitals, grocers, and other retailers for fresh, local produce. Management of the Wholesale Greenmarket is a natural extension of our Greenmarket farmers’ market program and will meet the need for affordable local food among institutional retailers and individual buyers on a larger scale than previously possible.”
CENYC has organized and managed open-air farmers’ markets in New York City since 1976. Today, the city boasts 50 retail farmers’ markets under the program name, Greenmarkets. CENYC’s professionalism and experience will help develop this market, by attracting more farmers and products, as well as a diverse audience of wholesale buyers whose needs cannot be adequately met at the traditional retail Greenmarkets.
New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky said, “The timing for this grant couldn’t be more appropriate. A recent study by the City found that many of our low and moderate income neighborhoods suffer from the lack of access to healthy food choices. By improving and expanding the City’s only wholesale farmers market, fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetable will be more readily available to small restaurants, grocery stores.”
Congressman José E. Serrano said, “The people of the Bronx have waited decades for an opportunity to buy the region’s freshest produce, which passes through the borough’s wholesale markets each day. Today that wait is over. With increased access to the fresh fruits and vegetables that the food distribution center handles, we will see an improvement in the health and quality of life for the people in our community. Kudos to everyone who worked so hard to make this a reality.”
The wholesale farmers’ market is the only one of its kind in New York City and is located in the waterfront parking lot of the New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point. The market offers locally grown fruits, vegetables, plants and herbs in case quantities at wholesale prices. It is open to public, but is best suited for small to mid-sized wholesale buyers. The market is currently open Monday through Saturday from 2:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Starting September 26, the hours of operation will be extended on Saturdays to 2:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. This market was previously located adjacent to the former Bronx Terminal Market near Yankee Stadium. It moved to its current location in the spring of 2007.
In 2005, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets commissioned a study to examine the need and the potential for establishing a wholesale farmers’ market in New York City. The majority of buyers interviewed expressed a strong interest in buying local products directly from producers at a wholesale farmers’ market, projecting a demand of more than $866 million per year. The response was equally positive from farmers with more than two-thirds of the 150 farmers asked saying they would definitely use such a market if there were one in New York City.
Farmers’ markets have more than doubled in number in the past ten years. They benefit city, suburban and rural residents by allowing them greater access to fresh, locally produced food. They also help farmers enhance their revenues by enabling them to sell directly to the consumer. New York has approximately 1,700 farmers participating in nearly 400 farmers’ markets located throughout the State.
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