Boston public market to feature produce

03/22/2012 01:01:00 PM
Andy Nelson

Massachusetts growers of fruits and vegetables could have another marketing option for their produce — right in the center of Boston.

Gov. Deval Patrick and the state’s Department of Agricultural Resources envision a public market in downtown Boston that could generate $15.5 million to $19.5 million in annual sales, create dozens of temporary construction jobs and up to 200 permanent jobs when it opens, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“This plan gives us a clear set of recommendations to help build a thriving public market in the heart of Boston,” Patrick said in the release.

“I look forward to seeing the best of Massachusetts agriculture on display at this market.”

The projected year-round public market would feature dairy, meats, seafood, specialty foods and beverages, flowers and other products in addition to fresh produce.

The market would be built on the first floor of 136 Blackstone Street, near the Haymarket MBTA subway and bus stop. The site is owned by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.   

Local connection

“Working together, we will create a hub for the best local foods our state and region have to offer,” Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said in the release.

“It will be a great compliment to our growing array of food initiatives, which promote healthy eating options as well as stronger economic partnerships between Boston and our farming and fishing neighbors.”

Scott Soares, the Department of Agricultural Resources’ commissioner, said the new market will provide a welcome outlet for local growers of fruits and vegetables and other foods.

“Each year the Massachusetts agricultural industry generates $500 million in Massachusetts,” Soares said in the release.

“This market will provide another chance for these businesses to reach customers here, saving and creating agricultural jobs, while bringing healthy food to thousands of customers year-round.”

The proposed market would have 14,000 square feet of rentable space, including 20 to 30 permanent retail stalls and 40 to 60 interior and exterior retail day stalls for agricultural and specialty food vendors.

In addition to providing a place for sales of local foods, the market also will offer extensive year-round community programming, educational events and entertainment.

The estimated cost of building the market, which could open this year, is about $8.5 million. A mix of state, federal and private funding sources is expected to pay for it.

The market is set to be built next door to the historic Haymarket, an open air market held every Friday and Saturday. The new market would be designed to complement, not replace, the Haymarket.



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