Market expanding to feed hunger for produce 

click to enlarge Begun in San Francisco in the 1870s, the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market moved from the Embarcadero Center to the Bayview in the early 1960s to make room for downtown development.See stats on the expansion plan at the end of the article. - COURTESY RENDERING
  • COURTESY RENDERING
  • Begun in San Francisco in the 1870s, the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market moved from the Embarcadero Center to the Bayview in the early 1960s to make room for downtown development.See stats on the expansion plan at the end of the article.

The long-planned expansion of San Francisco’s largest wholesale produce market, a hub for fresh food in The City, may finally be taking root.

The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market, which rents space to nearly 30 wholesalers and distributors, has been a mainstay on Jerrold Avenue in the Bayview District for decades. It is a source of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers and other goods from local and regional farms to restaurants, groceries, hotels and specialty retailers throughout The City.

But it’s outgrown its space, which it leases from The City. So Monday, officials announced a new 60-year lease that will allow for a $100 million expansion. The proposal will be introduced at the Board of Supervisors today.

“I’ve been coming to the market for 38 years, every week,” said Kayren Hudiburgh, owner of The Good Life Grocery, which opened the first of its two neighborhood groceries in the southeastern part of The City in 1974.

“This is the place to get good, quality, fresh produce every day for our community.”

Hudiburgh said her two markets buy more than $1 million worth of produce from these wholesalers each year.

“I’m so glad that we’re going to get a facelift, a renovation, an expansion,” Hudiburgh said. “And we need it down here. There used to be two restaurants with pinball machines and a place to gather and talk produce, and deals, and whatever, and now we don’t have that. We need that again, for the workers down here, for the people that visit the market.”

Mayor Ed Lee said keeping the market local was a priority for his administration. He said residents, as well as The City’s food, hotel and tourism industries, “depend so much on quality of food.”

The market provides a $500 million economic impact for The City, according to Lee, and the expansion could double that figure, he said.

“The expansion of this site is a tremendous win for all of us here in San Francisco,” said District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen. “Not every city can boast that we have a wholesaler and distributor serving world-class restaurants in our city, but we do.”

aburack@sfexaminer.com

$100M expansion plan

Begun in San Francisco in the 1870s, the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market moved from the Embarcadero Center to the Bayview in the early 1960s to make room for downtown development.

  • 300,000 square feet of warehouse and distribution space to expand to 500,000 square feet
  • Employs 650 people full time currently; the expansion is projected to add another 350 full-time jobs plus hundreds of temporary construction jobs
  • Groundbreaking expected in 2013

Source: The City, the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market

 

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Ari Burack

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