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    Gourmet Garage, Others Mull NYC Wholesale Farmers' Market

    NEW YORK -- Some of the city's leading specialty food and supermarket operators are lining up behind a proposal for a New York City Wholesale Farmers' Market (NYCWFM), which has been initiated by Gourmet Garage founder Andy Arons.

    NEW YORK -- Some of the city's leading specialty food and supermarket operators are lining up behind a proposal for a New York City Wholesale Farmers' Market (NYCWFM), which has been initiated by Gourmet Garage founder Andy Arons.

    The proposal is being batted around by a private focus group today. In addition to Gourmet Garage, scheduled participants in the focus group are Dean & DeLuca, Balducci's, Garden of Eden, The Food Emporium, Blue Apron Foods, The Park Slope Food Coop, and Commodities.

    The group will discuss such issues as the types of local products they'd want at such a market, the amounts theyd' expect to buy, how they would use the market, access, and site planning.

    NYCWFM researchers Karen Karp of Southold, N.Y.-based Karp Resources, a business development consultancy to the food industry; and Ted Spitzer of Portland, Maine-based urban planning and economic development firm Market Ventures, Inc. will serve as facilitators of the group. Both firms head the consultant team on the NYCWFM Study begun by the New York State Department of Agriculture, with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Marketing Service, to look into the viability of re-establishing one or more wholesale farmers' markets in New York City. The consultant team recently completed the first phase of the study.

    "Planning for the new wholesale farmers' market will include retailers and restaurant chefs, as we both create the nexus by which NYC residents can enjoy and support local foods," said Gourmet Garage's Arons in a statement. "Our dream is to create an environment where we can offer customers fresher foods, save wasted distribution dollars, and really take pride in the phenomenal food basket that we have here in the region. We have some of the best produce, seafood, farmed products, and wines in the world here. Now is the time to create the infrastructure to bring it to market."

    New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer named the NYCWFM as one of his 15 priorities to revitalize the upstate New York economy, and allocated an additional $500,000 for ongoing research in 2007.

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