“To bring a semi-open, 50-year-old warehouse into compliance with a modern-day HACCP program is very challenging,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to maintain a food safety program and keep the chill chain intact in a new building. You’ll have refrigerated docks instead of taking product out of the cooler into the building’s open space where it may sit while orders are being filled. We had hoped it would not come to the point where we had to look at alternatives. We’re very happy for what Mayor Lee announced.”
Earl Herrick, owner of Earl’s Organic Produce, also welcomed the plan.
“It secures for this city the opportunity to get fresh produce through a sophisticated yet simple system of distribution,” he said. “Everyone who lives here enjoys all the farmers markets, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when you talk about food culture. The backbone is the produce market. It locks that in for another 60 years.”
Beyond California, Earl’s Organic Produce – whose products include organic heirloom tomatoes, peaches and satsuma mandarins – distributes nationwide in such markets as Atlanta, Chicago and New England.
The market, a city-controlled entity, has been operated jointly by the San Francisco Market Corporation and San Francisco Produce Association.
“The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market has been supplying our city and region with fresh, healthy produce for 137 years,” Lee said in a news release. “This new $100 million investment and expansion will ensure that small businesses, neighborhood grocers and anyone in the market for fresh produce for their business will continue to receive their goods from San Francisco.”
Lee visited GreenLeaf May 14 to make the announcement.