Great for eating, great for decorating, and even better when displayed front and center in produce departments, the squash category will be a festive and fun sector to promote this fall and winter. There is a squash for everyone, from summer varieties to a perfect pumpkin. So, we asked our industry friends: How do you squash?
Guillermo Martinez, General Manager, Wilson Produce
“Squash is one of those underrated hardware items in the produce department that doesn’t get the credit, but its hardworking versatility makes it a steady performer. In the age of Pinterest and easily shareable recipes, as well as the focus on plant-based eating, squash shows up more and more as a star of the plate rather than a basic side dish. The age of spiralized vegetables first gave zucchini a new life, and today we see applications for stuffed zucchini boats and even baked zucchini chips. One of my favorites is still your basic grilled zucchini with a balsamic glaze.”
Matt Mandel, Vice President of Operations, SunFed
“Whether you grill it, sauté, bake, or noodle it, squash is fantastic! Its versatility as a side dish or as the star of the show allows you to do so much with it. There are so many varieties that can be used as great options for meatless Mondays, keto or low-carb diets, and as a staple with vegetarians and vegans alike. Me personally, I love Calabacita thinly-sliced, brushed with olive oil, a little salt and pepper, and grilled to perfection! This fall and winter is a great time to create big, bold destinations in produce departments as the squash category is a mainstay at the table throughout the holiday season and beyond.”
Ben Johnson, President, Bridges Produce
“I have always loved the fact that squash has been cultivated in the Americas for approximately 10,000 years—when Mastodons were still roaming the earth. Now that fresh produce is regaining the center of the plate in so many people’s diets, squash is being prepared in a multitude of delicious and inventive ways. From simple roasting to noodles, curries, soups, salads, and dips, there are endless ways to prepare winter squash. I never get tired of experimenting with new recipes and am almost always pleasantly surprised.”
Michele Youngquist, Owner, Bay Baby Produce
“As our team creates and promotes recipes for our key items—pumpkins and organic winter squash—we are thinking of three major buzz words: gluten-free, plant-based, and vegan.
For a recent tradeshow sampling event, our team created the perfect Butternut Hummus. It was, as we like to say of our pumpkin and organic winter squash recipes, SHOCKINGLY DELICIOUS. However, tradeshow attendees can be our best critics. As each attendee sampled our Butternut Hummus, they were amazed at how great it tasted and how much better it tasted than traditional store-bought hummus! It was exciting to share and hear such positive comments.
Our Butternut Hummus recipe isn’t just for fall or winter squash promotion; it’s the type of recipe to be used every day. It’s simple and easy to make with just a few ingredients, and it can be used as a healthy snack or a healthier alternative to sandwich spreads, charcuterie boards, etc. It’s a healthy, gluten-free, plant-based, and vegan alternative, and it’s shockingly delicious.”
Michael Stebner, Director of Culinary, sweetgreen
“Hard winter squash is one of my favorite vegetables to work with because of its ability to evoke seasonal pleasure. That may sound a little weird, but I mean it! The pleasure you get when you smell winter squash roasting in the oven on a cool fall night, or the pleasure you feel when you are eating a roasted Spaghetti Squash casserole for dinner are purely seasonal. Many people have wonderful memories of eating roasted buttery squash with their holiday feasts, and I am one of them. Winter squash brings me pleasure in so many ways!”
Robert Hernandez, Sales, Fresh Farms
“New healthy eating trends have catapulted the squash category into year-round demand, and Fresh Farms, based out of Rio Rico, Arizona, is one of the best sources for fresh summer and winter squash varieties. Zucchini noodles have become the new spaghetti to an infinite number of tasty dishes. Try adding Mexican gray squash to your next homemade soup and experience the incredible flavor it adds. Discover how yellow squash, cut and sautéed with a little salt and pepper, complements any entrée with a wonderful flavor. Let your imagination run wild with these wonderful varietal squashes.”