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Proposed market site fuels food fight

A proposal to build a new farmers market near the current Haymarket site has fueled a feud between vendors. 

Governor Deval Patrick’s administration is eyeing a spot of land above the Big Dig to place a year-round daily farmers market, but Haymarket vendors are fearful their business will get cropped.

According to State House News Service, the open-air grocers in downtown Boston pushed back efforts to construct on the land, saying it would create unwarranted competition subsidized by the state.

Haymarket advocates want only local goods sold at the proposed site, to differ with the goods from around the world sold at the current downtown market.

“I don’t want to create a whole new level of competition,” said Emanuel Serra, a member of the Haymarket Pushcart Association.

Serra said he hoped if the state opens a new market that stakeholders, including the state, the city and vendors, sign a contract guaranteeing just that, according to a State House News report.

“I will fight it with everything I can unless we have an agreement,” Serra said.

Patrick administration officials said efforts to build a new market will only work if it supports, not competes with, Haymarket pushcart vendors.

The property in question is a 25,000-square-foot facility on top of the Haymarket T station, located at 136 Blackstone St.

The unoccupied building is state-owned, and involves federal oversight because it contains a vent for the Big Dig, according to reports.

Proponents of the proposed food seller expect to see an opening by next summer.

There is roughly 14,000 square feet of retail space for farmers to sell produce at, which the Patrick administration estimates will create 200 jobs.

State officials said it could cost $8.5 million to establish the market and about half would be publicly funded, according to reports.

 
 
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