Cancel OK

Preparing for the unexpected in Boston

The terminal markets are subject to the vagaries of the weather, and Boston is a frequent target of Mother Nature’s whims, from torrential rains and significant snowstorms to hurricanes.

That’s why city officials in Chelsea, Mass., are engaged in a project to add additional marshland by the New England Produce Center (NEPC) market to soak up water and minimize the fallout from a major storm surge.

Any such shift in sea level has the potential to shut down the center and surrounding businesses (including the nearby Boston Market Terminal), which, of course, would have an impact on the East Coast food supply.

Then there’s the onset of winter, always a wild card.

“The biggest challenge we have is if it’s a bad New England winter,” says Anthony Sharrino, president of Eaton & Eustis Company. “That really puts the brakes on—if we get a lot of snow, people can’t get around or get out of their houses.”

Another possible challenge is international trade.

There is some concern at the markets about potential fallout from a trade war. “We really don’t know what’s going to happen,” says Dominic J. Cavallaro, Jr., president of John Cerasuolo Company, Inc. on the NEPC. “We’ll have to see how it plays out.”

Sharrino, too, is waiting to see, though he is concerned about China’s tariffs on walnuts and almonds, which could cause oversupply at the markets and force prices down.

Whatever happens in immediate future or a few years down the road, the Boston Market Terminal and New England Produce Center will be around, serving the needs of the city and its customers near and far.

Despite squeezed margins and hiccups here and there, merchants are soldiering on amid steady demand for the markets’ offerings.

For Sharrino, it’s a trifecta: “We’re having a pretty good year,” he shares. “The economy is good, the stock market is up, and consumer confidence is up.”

This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full article.


Poonkulali Thangavelu specializes in business and finance topics, drawing on her experience as a journalist and education in economics, finance, and marketing.