Based just north of downtown Tampa, the Tampa Wholesale Produce Market is open year-round. The market is home to several produce distributors, which sell to area hospitality and entertainment businesses, retailers, and restaurants throughout the Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area.
“There have not been many major changes on the market in recent years,” says Louis Garcia, president of Crews & Garcia Inc., a receiver on the market.
That is not to say, however, that his company hasn’t made changes and upgrades of its own. “We’ve made a lot of improvements to meet food safety standards and getting third-party audits,” he explains.
Garcia says Crews & Garcia handles berries — blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries — as well as mushrooms and leafy items. He’s noticed a few interesting produce trends of late, including one or two familiar throughout the industry.
“We’re selling much more kale than we used to,” he says. “Also, spring mix is really popular and many companies are coming out with new types. For instance, Taylor Farms came out with a heritage blend similar to the spring mix.”
He adds the company also sees solid growth and demand for berries all year.
The Tampa Market was also impacted by Hurricane Irma, primarily in the form of power outages. “We lost a lot of product because our coolers were down for a few days,” Garcia says. “It was a bad couple of weeks, sorting through what we had to throw away and what we could salvage. Fortunately, we had refrigerated trucks that run on diesel, so we were able to put product in,” he explains.
Fortunately, all of Irma’s repercussions are in the past. “We’re all recovered now.”
This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full article.