Production of imported butternut squash is just getting underway.
“We just started production out of Sonora, Mexico,” says Raquel Espinoza of the Produce House, LLC in Nogales, Ariz. With the rain hitting the region late last week, Espinoza believes the start might be a little slower than usual. “But we’re not starting terribly late. Everything seems to be on schedule,” she adds.
While Mexico is just getting underway, that makes domestic squash the only real competition for Mexican product right now. Produce House carries butternut squash until June/July.
Meanwhile, demand for squash looks steady but also lighter than usual. “A lot of people haven’t made their transition yet. The domestic market will support its own its product before they look internationally,” says Espinoza.
All of that puts squash pricing at roughly $12.95/FOB right now for large squash. “Pricing is around the same at this time last year,” she says. “However, with weather issues from both Hurricane Sergio in the Pacific and Hurricane Michael in the Gulf of Mexico, we could see demand creeping up sooner than usual making for an interesting market in weeks to come.”
Looking ahead though, Espinoza anticipates seeing similar trends to 2017 on squash movement. “Last year around November and December and into the new year, there was really steady demand on butternut. Extremely steady,” she says. “We sold all of our crops faster and ended earlier than usual, creating a gap in the spring. We will see if there is a repeat of that this year.”