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The New York Fruit and Vegetable Market supplies the goods

NEW YORK – It was the early hours of the morning and the docks of New York’s largest grocery store were bustling in the cold. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, sacks of onions, potatoes, and carrots were flying off the shelves.

Amidst the hubbub, buyers and sellers struck deals for tomatoes, mangoes and lettuce. Trucks stood ready to haul away the bounty – a cornucopia of fruit and veg destined for supermarket aisles, home refrigerators and ultimately millions of mouths across the Northeast during the gluttonous holiday season.

“This time of year is our busiest. We have Thanksgiving, we have Christmas and New Years. All of these are very big family and big food holidays,” said Stefanie Katzman, executive vice president of S. Katzman Produce, one of the largest and oldest grocers in the country operating at Hunts Point Produce Market.

The market is a sprawling conglomeration of wholesalers, making it the nation’s busiest fruit and vegetable distribution center, responsible for more than 60% of New York City’s daily inventory and feeding over 30 million customers, according to another Hunts Point wholesaler , E Armata Inc.

Thanksgiving is a particularly busy time of year as the quintessentially American holiday is widely celebrated across the United States.

“Our market as a whole is doing about three times its usual business on a day like today,” Katzman said as she led a tour of her company’s cavernous warehouse, which spans a quarter of a mile (0.4 km), and Almost two football pitches offer space for products.

In a huge room, the smell of onions filled the cold air. In another, the scent of berries wafted through the room—although Katzman’s best-selling strawberries were in short supply due to the inclement weather that ravaged the growing season.

“Our market is really unique. It’s a bit like the stock market, but a little bit more intense. Since our ‘stocks’ are perishable, we can’t hold on to them for too long and hope that they will appreciate in value,” Katzman said.

Not only can the place be compared to a stock exchange, but it is also a kind of Grand Central Station with delivery trucks coming in and out of the Bronx facility.

In total, Hunts Point’s wholesalers sell £2.5 billion of products a year, with around £30 million being moved on Tuesday alone. Produce ends up at places like Whole Foods, upscale grocery and specialty markets, and smaller corner shops.

Michael Rubinsky, a buyer at Market Basket, a gourmet grocery store, drives an hour’s drive from Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, three times a week to inspect the merchandise.

“I come for the basics — anything like celery, lettuce, strawberries and potatoes — but quality is number 1,” he said. “I check the quality and load everything onto the truck.”

Charlie Mule, one of Katzman’s product salespeople, said consumers don’t know where their products come from.

“You ate our stuff without even knowing you ate our stuff,” Mule said. “If you go to a restaurant or a store, you probably don’t know how it got there until you put it in your fridge or on your plate.”


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A customer shops at S. Katzman Produce at Hunts Point Produce Market on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 in the borough of The Bronx in New York. Hunts Point’s wholesalers trade £2.5 billion worth of products a year, with around £30 million being moved on Tuesday alone. Produce ends up at places like Whole Foods, upscale grocery and specialty markets, and smaller corner shops. Thanksgiving is a particularly busy time of year as the quintessentially American holiday is celebrated across the United States. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)



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Drivers position their trucks at the loading docks at Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx, New York, on Tuesday, November 22, 2022. Hunts Point’s wholesalers trade £2.5 billion worth of products a year, with around £30 million being moved on Tuesday alone. Produce ends up at places like Whole Foods, upscale grocery and specialty markets, and smaller corner shops. Thanksgiving is a particularly busy time of year as the quintessentially American holiday is celebrated across the United States. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)



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A customer walks in the onion section of shops at S. Katzman Produce at Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx, New York, on Tuesday, November 22, 2022. Hunts Point’s wholesalers trade £2.5 billion worth of products a year, with around £30 million being moved on Tuesday alone. Produce ends up at places like Whole Foods, upscale grocery and specialty markets, and smaller corner shops. Thanksgiving is a particularly busy time of year as the quintessentially American holiday is celebrated across the United States. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)



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A customer purchases fresh fruit and vegetables from S. Katzman Produce at Hunts Point Produce Market on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York. Hunts Point’s wholesalers trade £2.5 billion worth of products a year, with around £30 million being moved on Tuesday alone. Produce ends up at places like Whole Foods, upscale grocery and specialty markets, and smaller corner shops. Thanksgiving is a particularly busy time of year as the quintessentially American holiday is celebrated across the United States. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)



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Workers load fresh fruit onto their trucks at S. Katzman Produce at the Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx, New York, on Tuesday, November 22, 2022. Hunts Point’s wholesalers trade £2.5 billion worth of products a year, with around £30 million being moved on Tuesday alone. Produce ends up at places like Whole Foods, upscale grocery and specialty markets, and smaller corner shops. Thanksgiving is a particularly busy time of year as the quintessentially American holiday is celebrated across the United States. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)



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People shop for fresh fruit and vegetables at S. Katzman Produce at Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx, New York, on Tuesday, November 22, 2022. Hunts Point’s wholesalers trade £2.5 billion worth of products a year, with around £30 million being moved on Tuesday alone. Produce ends up at places like Whole Foods, upscale grocery and specialty markets, and smaller corner shops. Thanksgiving is a particularly busy time of year as the quintessentially American holiday is celebrated across the United States. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)



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A customer, right, transports crates of oranges as he arrives to shop at S. Katzman Produce at Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx, New York, on Tuesday, November 22, 2022. Hunts Point’s wholesalers trade £2.5 billion worth of products a year, with around £30 million being moved on Tuesday alone. Produce ends up at places like Whole Foods, upscale grocery and specialty markets, and smaller corner shops. Thanksgiving is a particularly busy time of year as the quintessentially American holiday is celebrated across the United States. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)



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A man takes notes between crates of fresh fruit and vegetables at S. Katzman Produce at Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx, New York, on Tuesday, November 22, 2022. Hunts Point’s wholesalers trade £2.5 billion worth of products a year, with around £30 million being moved on Tuesday alone. Produce ends up at places like Whole Foods, upscale grocery and specialty markets, and smaller corner shops. Thanksgiving is a particularly busy time of year as the quintessentially American holiday is celebrated across the United States. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)


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