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NYCs biggest produce market may relocate to NJ
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    NEW YORK — America’s biggest wholesale produce market is looking to leave New York — if the city doesn’t help rebuild its aging, outdated facility in the Bronx.
    Steven Katzman, co-president of Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Association, a vendors group, said a meeting is scheduled in late June to consider options for moving the market to New Jersey.
    ‘‘But we’d rather stay here,’’ he added.
    The Hunts Point market supplies 3.3 billion pounds of fruits and vegetables a year worth more than $2 billion to more than 10 million consumers, vying with France’s giant Rungis produce market just south of Paris for sheer size and volume of sales.
    The vendors’ cooperative pays more than $4 million a year to use the 125-acre, city-owned facility, which includes about 400,000 square feet of refrigerated warehouses, plus railroad tracks, loading docks and parking for trucks.
    Katzman said the 41-year-old market is not up to today’s standards, citing as an example its open loading docks without refrigeration.
    He said the city’s Economic Development Corp. had come up with an initial rebuilding proposal that would cost $750 million, as estimated by a city-hired consultant.
    The vendors want the city to contribute about $150 million, with the rest of the money coming from state, federal and private funding. They also believe the project can be done more cheaply, for between $450 million to $500 million.
    Katzman said the vendors are frustrated because they have been talking to the city about the project for eight years and have yet to receive a commitment. Their 30-year lease expires in 2011.
    EDC officials ‘‘listened, and they said they wanted to study this plan,’’ Katzman said. ‘‘But they haven’t said yes, and we need a new market.’’
    Janel Patterson, an EDC spokeswoman, said the cooperative ‘‘has not made us aware of any plans to relocate out of the city.’’
    The produce market is close to the New Fulton Fish Market, which moved to the Bronx in 2005 from lower Manhattan, where it operated for 180 years.
    The side-by-side locations of the city’s two wholesale markets make the South Bronx a one-stop-shopping destination for buyers.
    LANSING, Mich. — Michigan produced more maple syrup this year than any year since 1964, according to federal officials.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Tuesday the state produced an estimated 100,000 gallons this year, up 67 percent from last year’s 60,000.
    In 1964, 110,000 gallons of maple syrup were produced.
    The USDA said the state’s tapping season was relatively short, with most producers starting later than usual.
    But cold nights and slightly warmer days helped boost the output of maple syrup.
    U.S. production totaled an estimated 1.64 million gallons in 2008, a 30 percent increase from last year.
    Vermont led all states with 500,000 gallons, up 11 percent. Michigan ranked sixth both this year and last year.

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