Interest in East Coast squash pushes up while supplies tight

Limited supplies and weather variables are pushing interest on squash right now.

“Demand is very strong on summer squashes and its average on winter hard-shell squash,” says Steve Veneziano of Naples, Fl.-based Oakes Farms Inc. “But the summer zucchini yellow squash has lighter supplies due to all the rain. There’s very heavy for green squash but lighter demand on yellow.”
In fact, Veneziano notes that the squash category is trending upwards. “On squash, our sales by volume are up almost 40 percent compared to last year,” he says. “People want to make noodles, eat healthy and things like that and that’s really creating a surge in interest.”
Different from 2017
2018’s outlook is a different compared to last year when squash supplies were more plentiful on the East Coast. “Last year, Canadians were calling us to supply squash and now we’ve got Canadians calling to see if we can spare any,” says Veneziano. “With this hurricane in the Carolinas, that rain and everything in the 300 mile radius, that’ll slow production down and/or cause damages. And all the rain up in the Michigan area, they’ve had rain, there’s even more demand due to less loading locations.”
He also notes that demand has increased in Georgia, a region that’s not typically strong at this time of year. “I expect demand to really surge out of the south—the biggest variable is this Hurricane Florence,” says Veneziano. “We don’t know the impact on the farms in the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland and with the rain coming across Canada.”
Meanwhile plantings have begun for winter. “We’re just starting down here in the south starting with our Georgia crops and we’re actually planting our Florida crops.” Oakes is planting its winter squashes including Butternut and its signature Orengetti in its Immokalee, Fl. fields this week which puts them ready around November 20th.
Zucchini fields in Flat Rock, Ala.
Altogether this makes for stronger pricing on squash right now. “It’s stronger compared to last year by almost 25 percent on the summer squash and 10 percent on hard-shell squash,” he says. While zucchini is around $20, the hard-shell squashes right now are going between $15-$18.

For more information:
Steve Veneziano
Oakes Farms Inc.
Tel: 239-658-0924

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