Fresh fruit, vegetables, juices and dairy products will be available for the picking near downtown Bay Shore with the coming of Sal’s Farmers Market near Southside Hospital.

Sal Messina is building the market in the former Group Optical Center at 331 East Main Street, and is planning to open early next year.

(The original plan was for fall, hence the sign above.)

Messina learned the produce trade under the watchful eyes of his father and grandfather in Manhattan.

He later went on to own and operate the 30,000-square-foot Sal’s Fruit Tree in Copiague for 41 years before selling it in 2011.

Messina says his next venture will be a smaller version of the Fruit Tree concept.

This building is just 1,400 square feet, but Messina has big plans and has already purchased the land north of the building for additional parking.

“You do what you know best and you give it your all and you make it,” said Messina.

He will be running his newest location with his wife Angela, and will be hiring about 35 employees.

“We are going to do it big here,” said Messina.

Top: Sal Messina standing next to coming soon sign in Bay Shore. (credit: Nick Esposito)