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    New York State Funds Big Apple’s Only Wholesale Farmers’ Market

    The State of New York has 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, which operates at the New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point in the borough of the Bronx. The market, where mid-sized farmers sell directly to wholesale buyers, will join the Big Apple’s 50 other CENYC-managed Greenmarkets in providing farm-fresh products to New York City residents and businesses.

    The State of New York has 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, which operates at the New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point in the borough of the Bronx. The market, where mid-sized farmers sell directly to wholesale buyers, will join the Big Apple’s 50 other CENYC-managed Greenmarkets in providing farm-fresh products to New York City residents and businesses.

    “This grant helps accomplish two goals of my administration,” said New York Gov. David A. Paterson. “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.”

    Under the terms of the grant, CENYC, which has organized and managed open-air farmers’ markets in the city since 1976 and currently oversees 50 locations under the “Greenmarkets” program, will need to develop an effective and functional management structure for the market, including office-based, on-site supervision to help facilitate profitable interaction among vendors and buyers. The organization will also be required to put in place 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 variety of wholesale buyers. CENYC will have a two-year contract with the state, with the option to renew the contract for an additional two years.

    “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,” noted New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker. “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.”

    The market, which used to be next to the former Bronx Terminal Market near Yankee Stadium and in spring 2007 moved to the waterfront parking lot of the New Fulton Fish Market, sells locally grown fruits, vegetables, plants and herbs in case quantities at wholesale prices. Although open to public, it’s best suited to small to mid-sized wholesale buyers. The market is now open Monday through Saturday from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. Starting Sept. 26, the hours of operation will be extended on Saturdays to 2 a.m. to 12 noon.

    Farmers’ markets have more than doubled in number in the past 10 years, according to the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets in Albany. New York has about 1,700 farmers taking part in almost 400 farmers’ markets located throughout the state.

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