Friday, March 12, 2010

Rare food option discovered in Bayview

Where does your food come from? The answer most residents give is “Somewhere outside the neighborhood.”

Every year, Bayview Hunters Point loses $38 million in food purchases that could be made here in the neighborhood, but are actually made somewhere else (according to the Mayor’s Office of Workforce and Economic Development).

That “retail leakage” number would be much higher if it were not for one of Bayview’s business treasures: the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market on Jerrold just east of Bayshore.

Sarah Rich, an editor at Dwell magazine where she specializes in sustainable design and architecture, has written a wonderful article about one local resident’s search for wholesome food that she can afford.

“…Valentina is undaunted—in fact, she lives in the Bayview, in a 7-person cooperative warehouse where she keeps all of her housemates fed for under $5 a day. She has been shopping at the wholesalers every Friday for years…”

Two wholesalers at our local market are mentioned in the article.

Stanley Produce, founded in 1941, is one of the oldest family-owned and operated produce firms in the San Francisco Bay Area. Stanley Produce works to give customers the best value for their produce dollar by promoting weekly Best Buys and featured items of the week.

Earl’s Organic Produce is the sole 100% organic operation at the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market, according to the businesses website. Earl’s provides retail customers of all sizes – from the natural foods co-op to the independent grocery to the national chain store – with locally-, regionally- and internationally-grown organic produce. Earl’s works with growers across California, the Pacific Northwest, Mexico and beyond to bring diversity, flavor and quality to the organic marketplace year round.

The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market is an association of dedicated professionals, united at the Jerrold Avenue distribution center. The 25-acre facility includes 280,000 square feet of recently improved warehouse space, and is home to over 30 produce businesses offering products ranging from the “Conventional” to “Fresh Cuts,” produce appealing to the Asian and Hispanic markets, and organic products for the choosiest retail shopper.

Michael Janis, the market’s General Manager, is a community-minded business person. He co-Chairs the Southeast Food Access Working Group among other services to the community.

A SEFA survey released at the end of 2007 found that 94% of Bayview Hunters Point residents would actively support new food options in their neighborhood.

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