Baloian Farms' Rich Cowden Details Squash Market
FRESNO, CA - Whether it’s big squash, itty bitty squash, Arizona squash, or Central Valley squash, we all like squash. And while I may not be able to predict whether your shoppers are skipping down the aisles to the tune of Lizzo in the near future, I am able to say with confidence that squash is on-trend with the flavors of the season. Rich Cowden, Sales for Baloian Farms, clues me into the grower’s current squash season as we leave a tight squash market with steadier supplies.
“We have been fortunate to experience some demand this season. Growing conditions have been favorable, and we have a great team that does a fantastic job with post-harvest handling,” Rich comments. “Our steady volume this season has also allowed us to service our consistent customers without interruptions.”
Music to my ears. Currently, Baloian Farms is harvesting zucchini and yellow squash in Baja, Fresno, and Santa Maria in California. Rich says they will continue the California Harvest through mid-October and transition to Nogales, Arizona, in early October.
Additionally, the tight zucchini market situation from the past few weeks has begun to level out as local regions recover from poor weather events. Rich says we can expect the market to correct itself and the distribution landscape to shift from complementary to competitive as growing regions overlap in October.
“Our summer season on hard squash varieties—Butternut, Spaghetti, Kabocha, and Acorn—in California’s Central Valley has experienced some favorable demand, and we have about another month of production remaining in the harvest cycle,” continues Rich. “We’ve had various and challenging weather events over the past six months. Hot, cold, wet, dry, windy—we saw it all this summer. Fortunately, we harvest from multiple growing areas simultaneously, which helps us insulate our production capabilities that would otherwise be strained from adverse weather events.”
Such incidents included heavy rain systems that over-saturated Baja, Texas. However, a silver lining was found as the Southwest opened some distribution opportunities that Baloian’s coastal districts typically do not see in mid-August. In another month, the grower’s production in Mainland Mexico will also begin, which will bring us into the fall and winter periods.
“The volume shortages we saw in August will begin to normalize in September, and we expect stabilized forecasts for September, which will lead us into the next transition to Mexico in October,” states Rich. “The squash that we brought to market with our business partners was clean and had beautiful color. Our year-round squash program continues to strengthen every year, and we are planning to add additional promotional capabilities for our customers this fall and winter.”
Keep an eye on the skies and the market with ANUK as we report.