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Maryland Food Center Authority recognized for market improvements

Today 25 tenants hold space in the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market in Jessup, MD. The market is operated by the Maryland Food Center Authority. Rose M. Harrell, director of facilities for the MFCA told The Produce News that space goes quickly when it becomes available at the market.

“The MFCA is directed by a 12-member executive board that is appointed by the governor of Maryland,” Harrell explained. “The food center, which is located on an approximate 400-acre site, is home to some major companies, such as SYSCO Food Services of Baltimore, Del Monte, Pete Pappas, G. Cefalu & Bros., Lancaster Foods, Baldor Specialty Produce’s DC, T.A. Baltimore South, Merchants Terminal, BTS Distribution Centers, Terminal Corp. and the Maryland Wholesale Produce and Seafood Markets.”baltimore-market-produceProduce on display at the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market in Jessup, MD. The market first opened in the mid-1970s. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland Food Center Authority)

Harrell said the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market opened its doors in the mid-1970s as what was at the time a cutting-edge food market. The MFCA, its board of directors and the tenants all take keeping the facility updated very seriously. Major projects are always in the works and others are in the planning stages.

Harrell said that in the past year, the MFCA has received international recognition for the $1.2 million dollar dock canopy painting and replacement project completed last year.

At the World Union of Wholesale Markets conference in London last September, the MFCA received the Silver Award for Excellence in Real-time Market Renovations. The international organization is based in the Hague in the Netherlands. It recognizes wholesale markets around the world for various accomplishments each year.

Harrell stated, “We were very honored to be recognized for our project. It shows what can be accomplished when market management and tenants work together on improvements in the market.”

This year the MFCA is installing emergency lighting and new doors and hardware in each of the 28 stairways from the loading dock to the mezzanine offices. Also this year, it is building a truck wash facility for exclusive use by MFCA tenants.

“This facility is being built as an ancillary service for our tenants due to the increased regulations by Environmental Protection Agency and protection of the Chesapeake Bay,” explained Harrell.

The MFCA is currently in the preliminary planning phase of the Maryland Market Place development.

“Plans for the new development include a farmers market, commercial kitchen, food loss program, food market expansion and 20,000 square feet of lease space,” Harrell said. ”We are looking to bring more local and regional product into the markets as well as help local entrepreneurs who are in need of a commercial kitchen. Additional information will be provided as the project moves along.”