HUNTS POINT, Bronx (WABC) -- The busiest day of the year is underway at the Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx and the Thanksgiving rush is officially underway.
Trucks lined up Tuesday to get into the market to gear up for the tremendous amount of buying, selling, loading, unloading and shipping.
More than 30 million pounds of produce were expected to be moved on Tuesday. The food will be distributed throughout the Metropolitan region.
The market has all of your Thanksgiving favorites like sweet potatoes, cranberries, apples, and more. The wholesalers have everything needed for Thanksgiving, minus the turkey.
It all comes as stores race to keep shelves stocked during a season where supply has been fluctuating for weeks.
It's something that all food distributors like Ira Nathel are dealing with.
"When we would pay $5,000 for a truck it was 4.50 freight to go from Cali to here, now we pay $12,000 for a truck, you get 910 boxes on a load, so we're paying $12-13 in freight," Nathel said.
That's for romaine lettuce. He said sweet potatoes are running $2-4 higher than last year for a 40-pound box.
With vaccines now available, more people are gathering this Thanksgiving than last, but according to Gabriela D'Arrigo, sales aren't at pre-pandemic levels.
She said it's not as busy as in previous years and the supply chain costs are hard to work around.
"We still use some rail but to get things here with a shorter lifespan, we've got to use trucks and fuel is expensive and drivers are short," D'Arrigo said.
But the family business has weathered other challenges in its 73 years -- and that provides perspective.
"Everyone knows it's bigger than themselves and the company it about making sure people have the things that make life normal, like having Thanksgiving dinner with their families," D'Arrigo said.
Earlier this week, volunteers in Hunts Point packed Thanksgiving dinners for thousands with the help of Baldor, a food distributor located in the south Bronx.
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