Baloian Farms Details Steady Squash Market; Richard Cowden Discusses
FRESNO, CA - What’s love got to do with it? In this industry, everything. The love and care each grower puts into their crops is essential to putting quality produce on the table, and Baloian Farms knows this well. With the squash market on my mind, I had the chance to chat with the company’s Richard Cowden, Squash Commodity Manager.
“Currently we are harvesting soft squash—zucchini and yellow squash—as well as hard squash varieties—Butternut, Spaghetti, and Acorn—in mainland Mexico,” Richard told me. “We have about another month of production remaining in the harvest cycle and are currently steady and into promotional volumes.”
The next transition period for Baloian will occur in mid-May when its production areas will move from mainland Mexico to Baja California, and then to Central California and the Coastal California growing areas. Richard relayed that the company’s year-round squash program continues to strengthen every year, and Baloian is planning to add additional promotional capabilities for its customers this summer.
As of now, Richard explained that the squash market is on the up and up.
“The volume shortages in late February and early March have now recovered, and we expect good production forecasts for April,” he said. “As the market continues to correct itself, there will be a competitive landscape in the short-term, but we anticipate production normalization to assist this market settle down and the competitive landscape to shift from fierce to complementary by the end of April and beginning of May.”
According to Richard, this year resulted in some production inconsistencies.
“Growing conditions may have been challenging, but fortunately we have a great team that does a fantastic job with post-harvest handling. The squash that we brought to market had very consistent shape, size, and color. We are very proud of the high quality that we provided this year,” Richard noted. “It’s satisfying to know we produced product with distinction that was enjoyed on dinner tables. Currently, we are into steady volume and continue to maintain a high-quality pack.”
Various weather events over the past six months have posed challenges for Baloian, Richard added. Fortunately, the grower harvests from multiple growing areas simultaneously, which helps insulate its production capabilities that otherwise would be strained from adverse weather events.
“This diversification affords that if one district experiences conditions not optimal for production, we have other districts to compensate and keep our customers supplied with consistently reliable product availability and quality,” Richard concluded. “The cool weather events experienced in February eventually led to March being a very challenging month from a volume standpoint, but April is showing signs of consistency in harvest and promotional opportunities for our customers.”
The love clearly runs deep with this squash provider, from its growing operations to its customer relationships. For more updates in the squash category and beyond, keep coming back to ANUK.