"We have a lot of people coming out from the public," says Sonny DiCrecchio, President and C.E.O. of the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market. "We see a lot of neighborhood groups. Four or five families get together, they put their list together, come down and do their shopping, and they go back home and split it up."
The 700,000-square-foot, state-of-the art, entirely refrigerated market opened this month, replacing the outdated, open-air facility on Packer Avenue.
John Vena Produce is one of the 26 vendors that made the move. Dan Vena says the food safety and shopper convenience are among the big advantages.
"There are so many advantages, it's really hard to go through all of them," Vena says. "But (one is) the temperature-controlled atmosphere for both making the product last longer and for food safety in general."
Restaurant owner Javier Ramos brought his family along to check out all the different displays and shop for their restaurant in Reading. As they walked along the dedicated pedestrian lanes inside the market, safely out of the way of forklifts, he said thinks the new market is much nicer than the old one on Packer Avenue.
The Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market is located at 6700 Essington Avenue in South Philadelphia.
The best time for small buyers to shop is after 8:00 a.m. And don't forget to bring a jacket, as the public areas are around 50 degrees and individual vendor spaces can be even colder.
For more information and directions, click here.