NOGALES, Ariz. — Lighter-than-usual supplies of squash may be shipping from some growing areas in west Mexico this season, but overall, supplies should be similar to last year, and there should be plenty of good-quality squash to go around, shippers say.
Fresh Farms in Rio Rico started shipping squash from Hermosillo, Sonora, in October and will continue to market the commodity through May, said Jerry Havel, director of sales and marketing.
The company was shipping good-quality zucchini, yellow and gray squash, and Havel was pleased with the early deal.
“Markets are good and demand has been strong,” he said in mid-October.
Prices were in the double-digit range for some packs — mostly $10.95 for 4/7 bushel cartons of yellow straightneck squash, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in October — but shippers said prices could drop as Florida supplies pick up.
Markets for west Mexico squash were strong last spring because of bad weather in Florida, Havel said.
Fresh Farms should be up in volume on squash as butternut, acorn, spaghetti and kabocha becomes available, he said. Those varieties should be on hand until May.
Squash also looked promising from Al Harrison Co. Distributors.
“The crop looks great, the plants are strong,” said president Brent Harrison.
The company should have acorn, spaghetti, butternut, banana and kabocha squash into May.
“The squash market really hasn’t been fluctuating too much in pricing,” Harrison said, but he added that supply and demand can affect the deal.
The company expects to ship 1.5 million cartons this season, about the same as last year.
Rain in Obregon, Sonora, might result in a less-than-anticipated volume out of that area, but size and quality should be good, said Gabe Nunez, general manager at Natural Flavor Produce in Rio Rico.
Fancy and Medium are the most popular grades among supermarket chains, he said. Buyers used to prefer the smaller Extra Fancy Grade, but the smaller sizes tend to have a shorter shelf life.
Sandia Distributors kicked off its squash deal in late September with the acorn variety from Caborca, Sonora, said Raul Paez, president and general manager.
The company added other varieties in October and will continue to ship squash until March.