Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2013

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/139333

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Page 142 of 217

THE BRONX B ronx County is the home of the New York Yankees, the birthplace of hip-hop and the location of New York City's iconic Bronx Zoo. Now add another facet to its résumé: It's a borough with a growing array of specialty food stores and markets catering to a population of 1.4 million. The Bronx may not have the foodie reputation or cutting-edge restaurant scene of Brooklyn or Manhattan, but it's gaining ground, thanks to places like these that are attracting a diverse and dedicated range of wholesale and retail customers.—E.C. Garden Gourmet Riverdale Garden Gourmet is a produce lover's paradise. "We've been in business for six years, and local residents rely on us for our huge variety of fruits and vegetables, our top sellers," says Fabian Sinchi, store manager. Huge variety is not an understatement. Colorful aisles at the front of the store are stacked with several kinds of apples, oranges, peppers, tomatoes and salad greens. Tucked among them are more exotic offerings such as jicama and kumato from Mexico and dragon fruit from Asia. Fresh produce arrives every day, with 80 percent of the stock certified organic. But there's much more to this 12,000-square-foot market than produce. Prepared foods are a huge draw—overstuffed sandwiches, mini-quiches, salads, sushi and hot deli items are made on the premises daily by some of the 60 employees. And the store's popular cheese department has earned raves for its hundreds of domestic and imported offerings (Stilton sells big). "Our customers know they can come in for a fresh sandwich, hard-to-get cheese, or a dinner platter they can heat up and eat at home, and it'll be healthy and taste like it was homemade," says Sinchi. If Garden Gourmet sounds a lot like a neighborhood version of Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, that's the idea. It's a bustling, well-organized place currently undergoing construction to double its size. Garden Gourmet also caters events and assembles custom gift baskets. "I had a woman come in who said her boyfriend was a big beer lover, so we made a beer basket with bar snacks, and she returned to tell me he loved it," Sinchi recalls. "We want to make our customers happy—whatever you need, we can do it." 5665 Broadway, Riverdale, N.Y.; 718.796.4209; gardengourmetmarket.com Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market Hunts Point 126 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com PHOTOS: ESTHER CRAIN The Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market, opened in 1967, is the largest wholesale fruits and vegetable market in the world. Located on 113 acres behind razor-wire walls in an industrial neck of the Bronx, Hunts Point comprises four enormous warehouses where 41 distinct vendors receive tractor-trailer deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables from all over the world. From arugula to zucchini, if it can be grown in the ground, Hunts Point has it. "We're a terminal market, which means we're the last stop for produce after it's grown and picked on the farm," explains Myra Gordon, the market's executive administrative director. Hunts Point operates at a dizzying pace from 10 p.m. to 3 p.m. four nights a week (and limited hours Fridays and Sundays). At night, produce arrives at each vendor's loading bay and is stacked in open warehouses by the market's hundreds of employees. Then, into the early morning hours, secondary wholesalers, restaurant managers, convenience-store owners, even one-man street-corner vendors come to select the freshest, ripest and most affordable items. (Costs vary depending on the day and season, but on a chilly March morning, two boxes of hothouse-grown rhubarb from Washington state sold for $110.) Smaller retailers and browsers would be wise to do their shopping after 6 a.m., when fewer tractor-trailers choke the parking lot. Though accessible via public transportation, Hunts Point is not easy to get to without a vehicle— and visitors must show a driver's license or other government ID and pay $2 for a day pass to enter. Though officially open to the public, regular customers are discouraged, says Gordon. Hunts Point sells roughly 60 percent of the fruits and vegetables that end up at New York's greengrocers, bodegas and restaurants. If one vendor doesn't have a specific item, the gruff but seasoned salespeople will call around to find out who does currently carry it. The market generates approximately $1 million in sales yearly, but it gives back to the Hunts Point community too. "Food that isn't sold is donated to local food banks," Gordon says. "That's an important part of our mission." 772 Edgewater Rd., Bronx, N.Y.; 718.542.2944; huntspointproducemkt.com

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