Auctioning Chestnuts in New York

Produce Business, Blast From the Past

Originally printed in the November 2020 issue of Produce Business.

This image, supplied by Sal Vacca, formally of A.J. Trucco, Inc., Bronx, NY, represents a “fruit trade catalog” of chestnut sellers who participated in an auction on November 24, 1952, at The Brown & Seccomb-Fruit Auction Co., Inc., on Piers 27, 28 and 29, along the Hudson River in New York, NY.

According to Vacca, all fruit sold in New York until 1967 — when the Hunts Point Terminal Market opened — was sold through auction. The other major auction house was the New York Fruit Auction.

All foreign fruit — chestnuts are imported from Italy — was sold at the end of the auction when domestic fruit was finished. A seller could withdraw the offered lot if the price bid was not high enough.

Italian chestnuts, which are still a seasonal item, are available beginning in October, usually around Columbus Day, and typically run through the beginning of January.