Food Bank of Western Massachusetts sells Hatfield warehouse to Hadley produce distributor

By Scott Merzbach

Staff Writer

Published: 08-22-2023 12:03 PM

HATFIELD — A sharing of resources between The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and the company that is buying its 97 North Hatfield Road warehouse, including temporary storage and cross docking, will ensure food pantries and meal sites throughout Hampshire and Franklin counties continue to be served promptly.

The Food Bank, which is moving its operations to a new facility at 25 Carew St. in Chicopee next week, and Myers Produce, a woman-owned regional produce distributor and trucking company currently located in Hadley, announced the arrangement on Monday to facilitate Food Bank deliveries to those it serves. At the same time, Myers Produce will continue to contribute to the “donation transportation” program, facilitating free transportation of donated food to the Food Bank so that the food can be distributed to the local community.

The Food Bank’s property, which it has occupied since 1984, was recently sold for an undisclosed price to Myers Produce, a farmer-focused distribution, freight, and warehousing service company. Myers Produce will move into the Hatfield site in October.

“The Food Bank board of directors decided that an extension of our mission is to sell our Hatfield facility to Myers Produce to help expand markets for local farmers and strengthen our region’s farm economy,” Andrew Morehouse, axecutive director of the Food Bank, said in a statement. “The Food Bank relies heavily on local farmers for a large portion of the fresh produce it provides for free every year to households who otherwise would not be able to afford it.”

With the new warehouse, Myers Produce is expanding the purchasing of food from local growers and producers, and transporting and reselling it to food retailers throughout the region and beyond.

Annie Myers, owner of Myers Produce. said that her company’s mission is to support the region’s agricultural communities by increasing farmers’ access to wholesale markets within the Northeast.

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“This acquisition allows us to take our efforts to the next level,” Myers said. “In addition to allowing for the expansion of our distribution and freight operations, this facility will enable us to offer short-term storage and cross-docking services to farmers, producers, distributors, and carriers throughout our region.”

In 2020, the Food Bank, running out of space, bought 16.5 acres of vacant land in the Chicopee River Business Park. A year later a successful $26 million capital campaign to raise funds to build a larger facility was completed, with construction beginning last year. The new Food Bank distribution center is a 62,000-square-foot, net-zero carbon emission green building that is twice the size of the Hatfield site.

The Food Bank serves 172 local food pantries, meal sites and shelters, providing the equivalent of almost one million meals monthly to more than 94,000 individuals facing food insecurity.