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To Boston and Beyond

A pair of terminal markets upgrade and diversify to better serve the industry

In the summer months, Cape Cod, the shores of Connecticut, and Rhode Island also bring in business. “We’re able to handle a lot of different areas and seasons, whether it’s ski season or summertime. That’s a big advantage for us,” Grant says.

Glenn Messinger, general manager and buyer with Baldor Boston, says parent company Baldor Specialty Foods, a distributor located in the Bronx, New York, jumped on the opportunity to expand into Boston a few years ago. Baldor Boston opened in 2006, and the company moved into a brand new 30,000-square-foot refrigerated facility in May 2013. “We’re in a great location,” he notes, close to the NEPC, the airport, and several highways. “This time of year, we can go into the New England Produce Center and shop around for the best locally grown stuff.”

When asked about the influx of new grocery retailers in the Boston area, vendors expressed varying points of view, but most said the invasion has had little impact.

Eaton & Eustis Company’s Anthony Sharrino was of ‘the more, the merrier’ perspective, stating, “It’s positive for everybody, especially the retail customer. I’ve noticed pricing is more competitive with independents and family-owned businesses than it is with national chains.”

Despite the new opportunities, Peter John Condakes of the Peter Condakes Company, Inc. says most of the super-regional’ chains deliver produce from their own distribution centers, and do not rely on local terminal markets for product.

Shawn Grant of Grant Stanton Produce Company, Inc. echoed the same, saying, “For us personally, it hasn’t made much of a difference. We haven’t gained any of the new national chains that have come here—we just service the ones we always have.”

Garden Fresh Salad Company, Inc.’s Patrick Burke, in sales, commented, “We don’t do a lot of business with chains, so it doesn’t really affect us much. I think the big chains are probably getting direct load for now, but they may be using the NEPC for fill-ins.”

Fruit & Vegetable Trends
Vendors on both markets have noticed quite a few interesting trends in the past year. Eaton & Eustis Company runs a full onion program, and Sharrino says sweet onions are a hot commodity year-round. Once Vidalia sales end around Labor Day, sweet onions from Peru and Chile begin arriving. Sharrino says fresh garlic also continues to be popular.

Baldor Boston, which primarily sells to foodservice companies, saw higher demand for kale—both the large and baby varieties. This was confirmed by Patrick Burke, sales manager for Garden Fresh Salad Company, located at the NEPC. “Kale and Brussels sprouts are really taking off,” he says. “These days, you see kale Caesar salads out there and different sautéed kale dishes—things you never saw two years ago.”