By Malinda Geisler, content specialist, Ag Marketing Resource Center, Iowa State University.
Revised May 2012.
Florida leads the nation in the value of squash production followed by New York, California and North Carolina. The United States grew 743.8 million pounds of squash for fresh market and processing in 2011 valued at $283 million.
Winter squash is late growing; has a hard, thick rind; and dense orange or yellow flesh. It is less symmetrical and tends to be rough, warty or oddly shaped. The thick skin allows for winter squash to be stored in a dry, cool place for several months. Winter squash includes types of pumpkins. Some of the popular types of winter squash grown in the United States include butternut, acorn, spaghetti, buttercup and hubbard.
Summer squash varieties are small, fast growing and usually consumed while the fruit is immature, before the seeds and rinds begin to harden. The three primary types of summer squash grown in the United States are zucchini, yellow and scallop.
Squash is used primarily for the fresh market. Per capita consumption of squash has grown in recent years and was 4.4 pounds in 2009.
The United States imports the most squash in the world. In 2011, the United States imported 271,614 metric tons of squash valued at $226 million. Mexico supplies 95 percent of the squash imports to the United States.
Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS), Foreign Ag Service (FAS), USDA.
Vegetables Annual Summary, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), USDA.
- Commercial Squash Production, University of Georgia - A comprehensive site that includes sections on marketing and production costs.
- Crop Profile: Squash in New York, Cornell University, 2000 - This profile mentions the marketing channels for New York-grown summer and winter types of squash and pest challenges.
- Enterprise Budgets, Squash, University of Florida.
- Florida Crop/Pest Management Profile: Squash, University of Florida - This site provides an overview of squash.
- Guide to Commercial Summer Squash Production, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, 2005.
- High Tunnel Summer Squash Production, Utah State University Cooperative Extension, 2011.
- Jack Creek Farms, Templeton, California - This is a fifth-generation farm in the coastal foothills of Central California. In addition to several varieties of summer and winter squash, the farm raises a variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers that are available as you pick or at their country store.
- Organic Pumpkin and Winter Squash Production, Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA), NCAT, 2003 - This document covers production, weed and pest management, harvesting and marketing.
- Schwebach Farm, Moriarty, New Mexico - This family farm grows summer and winter squash, which it sells at its own farm market. The farm specializes in white sweet corn, pinto beans and bolita beans.
- Squash, Vegetables and Melons Outlook, ERS, USDA, 2004.
- Vegetables, NASS, USDA.
- Vegetable Budgets, Fresh Market, University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Profitability - Enterprise budgets are available for summer squash and winter squash.
Links checked January 2013.