Marvin Santana (left), tropical sales buyer for Morris Okun Inc., New York, and Thomas Cignarella, president, display mature green tomatoes in mid-January at the Hunts Point Terminal Market in The Bronx.
Marvin Santana (left), tropical sales buyer for Morris Okun Inc., New York, and Thomas Cignarella, president, display mature green tomatoes in mid-January at the Hunts Point Terminal Market in The Bronx.

NEW YORK — Wholesalers in the Big Apple report a slower than normal start of the year in produce sales.

“Unemployment is high,” said Thomas Cignarella, president of Morris Okun Inc., on the Hunts Point Terminal Market. “Every industry is affected now, even the produce industry. As much as people still have to eat, everyone is affected in one way or another.”

Cignarella and other distributors say selling produce remains challenging. They say every customer remains price oriented.

“We are in a challenging economy,” said Alfie Badalamenti, vice president of Coosemans New York Inc. “Especially this month, when sales are slow. It’s ridiculous.”

Additionally, the owners of the market’s tenants dealt with a threatened worker walkout.