NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx is the world’s largest wholesale produce market, delivering items to every state except Hawaii.

With Thanksgiving just days away, Tuesday is the market’s busiest day of the year.

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As CBS2’s John Dias reports, the pandemic has changed things, but isn’t slowing them down.

You could call truck driver Charles James a Santa Claus of Thanksgiving. His truck is his sled and the produce are the gifts.

“It’s an unfortunate situation what we’re going through the pandemic,” James told Dias. “Just got to keep going as best we can.”

He hopes the food turns into joy during a tough time.

“Thanksgiving is family, it’s family time,” he said. “I grew up with my brothers and sisters, Thanksgiving was big deal.”

 

James was one of hundreds of drivers at the market Tuesday, working through the pandemic to make sure produce gets to shelves of supermarkets in time for the holiday.

“Five days worth of business in just three days,” Stefanie Katzman, executive vice president of S. Katzman produce, said.

It’s the busiest day of the year, with more than 30 million pounds of produce going out the door.

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This year, wholesalers are selling to more retail vendors, like grocery stores, and fewer restaurants.

“Everyone’s looking forward to some of these small family dinners,” said Katzman.

Cooking at home for a more intimate crowd has also led to a larger variety of food leaving the market.

“Items like aloe, turmeric, garlic — different things that are immune boosting items. Things that people are using for garnishes, because they’re having the time and they’re taking the time for their smaller dinners,” Gabriela D’Arrigo, vice president of marketing and communications, said.

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Almost everything New Yorkers will eat this Thanksgiving — except the turkey — will come from the Bronx market.

“We are proud to feed the people of New York City,” said Anthony Andreani, sales manager of S. Katzman Produce.

Not everyone can say they were part of putting food on the table for Thanksgiving, but this team can.

“It’s a real nice tradition,” James said.

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Since March, the market has donated more than 250,000 pounds of food to New Yorkers in need.