Produce Row sounds more romantic than it actually is. There are no picturesque stalls from which singing vendors sell cartons of carrots or pecks of pickled peppers to daily shoppers looking for dinner. Rather, Produce Row is a city park-sized industrial complex of warehouses, fences, and loading docks that serves as a commercial hub and headquarters for dozens of wholesalers, distributors, brokers, truckers, and inspectors. You don’t shop there, but your neighborhood grocer, farmers market vendor, and restaurant manager probably do. It is a very busy place, particularly overnight. And it has seen significant new investment over the past several years. More is planned.
The St. Louis Development Corp. is working with Byrnes and Jones Construction to improve what is now a dirt road between Branch Street and North Market. The new road will provide access to Produce Row and other businesses in the area from Branch Street as well as via North Market, alleviating truck traffic congestion (and air pollution). Funding for the project was obtained through a special federal grant supported by members of our Congressional delegation. Other grant funds will be used for other transportation-related improvements in the Row area.
If you want to watch Produce Row at work, it is easily observed from the North Riverfront Trail. You’re better off bringing your own apple, but you can show it where it probably was a week ago.