Cancel OK

New York’s Hunts Point

Making changes at the half-century mark
New York Spotlight_MS

The role of grocerants
D’Arrigo believes the healthy-and-convenient trend extends to retail too, where more and more stores are becoming ‘grocerants’—offering retail shopping along with prepared foods and seating—a store and restaurant all in one, with a wide selection of quick and convenient meals and snacks.

While commodity popularity may wax and wane over the years, D’Arrigo says “convenience is a trend that will continue to grow. The younger generation, especially the urban population, is focusing more on career and making money versus family, and speed and convenience are important.”

“Packaged produce in all areas continues to increase to meet the demand for convenience,” agrees DiMaggio. “Even on the retail end, it’s much easier to display packaged produce than loose.”

Making space for organics and local
DiMaggio also commented on the continued upward climb of organics. “Every year, organics are picking up little by little, and we bring in and sell a little more.”

Historically, Hunts Point has been a buyer’s market—with buyers taking what looks good and tastes good at the right price. Organics were typically a sales item rather than a walk item (procured to fill an order versus displayed at the market)—but as the trend continues to gain momentum, the merchants have responded by slowly and cautiously expanding their offerings.

Local produce, on the other hand, is a seasonal powerhouse. “Local, especially during summer, is a big trend for us,” DiMaggio affirms. “Every year, we increase our bank of local growers and the amount of local produce we bring in.”

Typical local commodities include radishes, cilantro, parsley, kale, cabbage, zucchini and other squashes, and then tomatoes and corn as the season progresses. And of course, New York’s annual treasure trove of apples.

“I think local produce is attractive because it’s fresher, there’s less transit time, it supports the state and neighboring states’ farmers, has a smaller carbon footprint, and it keeps some of the smaller growers and shippers alive,” shares DiMaggio.

Ray Myruski, in sales at Raymond Myruski, LLC, is also a big fan of the state’s seasonal bounty. “Local has been lucrative for growers in the area,” he says. “People want to support their local farmers and they realize that local produce tends to be fresher.”

Waste not want not
As hot commodity trends come and go, movements such as local and organic build over time according to Baldor’s Muzyk, who thinks the food-waste management movement is the next big wave, though in some respects, it’s already here.