An autumn sunset, falling leaves, shades of warmth—all are echoes of the luscious color palette created with a well-supplied squash destination or a plate of roasted varieties arranged to tease the tongue. While we could write sweet poetry all day about the amazing ways of the squash category, the more relevant discussion is: How do these fall favorites drive sales and entice the consumer? Since our industry members are as much consumers as they are trade advocates, we thought we would let them answer the question...
“While some might think of winter squash as a purely cold-weather play, squash is a year-round powerhouse in the produce aisle. Whether you’re noodling, stuffing, sautéing, or chipping, there is a squash type for every palate. Not only does my son love the Ratatouille movie, but it is a great way to serve squash in a traditional, mouth-watering presentation that is sure to please even the most discerning of connoisseurs.”
“The versatility of winter and summer squash really lend themselves to being the focus of the meal and the center of the plate. Recent surveys show that people under 40 years of age are eating 52 percent more fresh produce compared with the same demographic 10 years ago. Whether it be for reasons associated with health, the environment, animal welfare, budgetary constraints, or all of the above, vegetables are increasingly becoming the main dish rather than just being a side. Whether squash is used in soups or stews, grilled or roasted, curries or dips, or added to salads or casseroles, it is a flavorful and healthy staple of the modern diet.”
“As our team creates and promotes recipes for our key items—pumpkins and organic winter squash—we are thinking of four major buzzwords: gluten-free, plant-based, paleo, and vegan. For a recent sampling event, our team created the perfect Butternut Chips. It was, as we like to say of our pumpkin and organic winter squash recipes, SHOCKINGLY DELICIOUS. Customers are our best critics. As each person sampled our Butternut Chips, they were amazed at how great they tasted and how much better it tasted than traditional store-bought chips! So healthy, so delicious, and so much more! Our Butternut Chip 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 chip alternative to satisfy chip cravings. It’s a healthy, paleo, gluten-free, plant-based, and vegan alternative, and it’s shockingly delicious.”
“We are very proud and excited to grow and distribute Italian squash and Yellow squash on a year-round basis. The squash category is such an amazing commodity with versatile applications in retail, foodservice, and processing. At home, sautéed with a drizzle of olive oil, some Parmesan cheese, and some herbs…mmm good! They are also a healthy snack to munch on, and their vibrant colors will jump out to your house guests when served on a platter with cauliflower, broccoli, mini peppers, and carrots. And noodling is a fun way to dress up zucchini for your Italian dishes paired with your favorite marinara sauces. There are so many other great cooking options for consumers and chefs, so squash will continue to be a category driver and is a great compliment to our exciting lineup of high-quality year-round vegetables at Baloian Farms!”
“I absolutely love squash! Specific to Mucci Farms, I love our new Zukies Mini Zucchinis, which I think is the best of the best in the squash family! Zukies are great to eat raw, but since grilled veggies are my favorite, our mini zucchinis are a great topper to my list. They are denser than traditional varieties and really hold their texture when they come off the grill, so it makes for a very flavorful experience. I highly recommend them!”
“In this issue, we truly want to pay tribute to the retail sector, which has taken an already ‘hot’ commodity and catapulted it to new levels with creative marketing at the store level. In a world of value-added foods, the retailers have allowed the consumer to grab and run with these delicious squashes in the form of unique packaging that includes peeled, cubed, and spiraled that are ready to steam, sauté, or mash. At Fresh Farms, we offer a line of seven different squashes from Butternut, Spaghetti, Acorn, and Kabocha to soft squashes that include Italian zucchini, Yellow straight neck, and Grey squash. What incredible options for your next meal! With so many incredible recipes available, you can’t go wrong. The fall here in the Northern Hemisphere is a great promotable period as the days are shorter, the nights are cooler, and it’s time to fire up those ovens with all these wonderful squash varieties. Enjoy!"