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New Public Market Will Focus On Local Products03:14
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The new public market will be across the street from the iconic Haymarket food market (pictured here) in downtown Boston. (AP)
The new public market will be across the street from the iconic Haymarket food market (pictured here) in downtown Boston. (AP)

Plans for a year-round, indoor public market in downtown Boston are on the fast track after years of discussion. The state is now seeking proposals from potential developers and operators of the new public market.

Haymarket is the iconic outdoor market, which has been a fixture in downtown Boston on Fridays and Saturdays for more than 170 years. There'll soon be vendors nearby in another space, a year-round indoor public market right across the street, in the structure built around the ventilation towers above the Big Dig.

Its pending arrival has some of the Haymarket vendors worried.

"What concerns me is we'll create a market which has products delivered from all over the country, which is the same thing that Haymarket is doing," three-generation Haymarket vendor Edmund Serra says.

Serra says Haymarket prices are low because Boston is the last stop for products unsold on a cross-country journey for agricultural and fish products from all over the world.

"We probably service about 250,000 of the least fortunate in the Greater Boston area who can't afford to go to Whole Foods, who can't afford to purchase a farmers' market product, or who can't afford to buy imported cheeses," Serra says.

State Agriculture Commissioner Scott Soares has offered reassurances to Haymarket vendors that they have nothing to worry about and notes that the public market selection will be limited to local products.

Beacon Hill resident Nora Kerry is looking forward to the market opening.

"It's an extremely exciting project for Boston, something that Boston needs," Kerry says. "It harks back to what the beginnings of Boston were, with a vibrant market city down at Quincy Market and the city is missing that as a hub."

The goal is to have the market open bu the fall of 2012 or the spring of 2013 at the latest.

This program aired on December 20, 2011.

Delores Handy Twitter Reporter
Delores Handy was formerly a host and reporter at WBUR.

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