– It’s a common story at this time of year, but one in which the most delicious of all fruits is getting a new makeover: the fruit market.
This year, some of the most important fruits, like apricots, nectarines and plums, are getting the upgrade from their traditional home at the market, and a whole new look.
Tampa Fruit Market, an Oakland-based market specializing in fresh produce, is now known as the Fruit Market at the Market.
The new name is part of a broader shift in the way the market operates, said Tim Kupferman, director of operations for the market.
“We want to make it a destination for people to go and buy fruits that are fresh and delicious, and they are more in demand than ever,” Kupfferman said.
Kupffimmer said the fruit is getting new packaging, and new labels.
The market will also now carry fruit grown outside the state.
Kuchermans first fruits at the Fruit-Market at the Mall were in 2007, and the market now has more than 300 varieties, said Kupffeer.
The Fruit Market has grown in popularity over the years, attracting about 100,000 visitors each year.
It’s a change for the Florida-based marketplace, which has more to offer to the growing city of Tampa than any other area of the state, said Steve Kucherman, founder of Tampa Fruit Market.
“The Tampa market is a destination.
It is the place for people, especially young people, to go to, and it is the first stop in a trip to the Tampa Bay area,” Kuchers father, Steve, said.
There are a lot of good places to go for fruits, said Jim Kucchermans son, Mike.
He said they also get the fruit to the point where the market sells out quickly.
Mike, who has been at the fruit-market for 13 years, said he has had to make some tough decisions about where to buy.
The Florida Department of Agriculture (FDA) and the Florida Department and Fish and Wildlife (FWC) have both agreed to help out with fruit and vegetable marketing.FDA spokesman Jim Coughlin said the agency is aware of the change.
“Our goal is to encourage people to eat fresh produce in all its forms, and this has certainly been one of those things where the focus has shifted,” Coughlins said.
The fruit-and-vegetable markets are still small businesses, but there are more than 250 people working there, said Mike Kucermans son.
He is also a marketing manager for the Tampa-based business.
“There’s not a lot in it for the young people anymore,” he said.
For the first time in decades, there are fruit-related events happening at the Tampa Fruit market.
The markets are also expanding, with new food trucks arriving at the markets each month, and there are plans to open a bakery.