Produce moves slow to steady in Big Apple

05/27/2014 10:09:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

New York’s overall economy remains strong, said Mike Muzyk, president of Baldor Specialty Foods Inc., New York.

“When I see Wall Street having a stellar year in 2013 and see all these apartments, condos and cooperatives going in for more than we’ve ever seen, I think someone has to have money,” he said. “New York will always have a hiccup and a fall, but because of its economic diversification and strong work ethic, it will always be able to bounce back.”

Tourists are the driver of New York’s economic engine and Muzyk said the city’s many attractions, including Times Square, continues to draw crowds, including many Europeans.

Matthew D’Arrigo, vice president of D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York Inc., agrees that tourist movement is healthy.

“The tourist business in New York is great and it always is,” he said. “If the domestic people don’t come to New York, the foreigners still do. Overall,
New York’s economy is OK. It isn’t anything great but New York isn’t going to go belly-up.

“We are a very steady player here doing the job that we do moving oversupplied crops and getting deals for our green grocers, bodega owners and restaurant supplier customers.”

Resilient but slower

Though the city’s overall economy remains resilient, Jeff Young, a fruit buyer for A&J Produce Corp., in New York, said he can still detect some slowing.

“Things have been a little more on the slow side versus the busier side,” said. “We do have our seasonal spurts but I think the volume is down. We are doing business but I can feel the lesser volume. We’re resilient and doing business, but it’s been a little bit of a struggle.”

In the suburbs, the economy remains favorable, said Joe Granata, director of produce for RLB Food Distributors LP, West Caldwell, N.J.

“The produce economy has been good,” he said. “People are buying more produce and are focused on produce and healthy eating. Every place you look here you see juices playing a big part in produce expansion. For the holidays, I saw all these juicers and juicing machines in stores, and many tell you they got a juicer for Christmas, so they have to buy produce for them. That’s helped spur consumption as well.”



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