By Malinda Geisler, content specialist, Ag Marketing Resource Center, Iowa State University.
Revised March 2019.
The United States grew 4.6 million cwt of squash for fresh market and processing in 2016 valued at $149 million. The average price for squash in 2016 was $32.70 per cwt.The 2016 crop was planted on 37,400 acres and 36,300 acres of that was able to be harvested. Squash had an average of 1,615 cwt per acre in 2016. California leads the nation in the value of squash production followed by Florida, Georgia, and Michigan.
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.
Both summer and winter squash have edible skin, seeds and blossoms, as well as the flesh inside. Additionally squash vines, zucchini in particular, can be cut up and used as a noodle substitute. Squash is used primarily for the fresh market. Per capita consumption of squash has grown in recent years and was 5.1 pounds in 2016.
The United States imports the most squash in the world. On average, the United States imports 300,000 MT of squash each year. In 2016, squash imports were valued at $384 million. Mexico supplies 90.7 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.
Squash Overview, The George Mateljan Foundation
- 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.
- 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.
- Vegetables, NASS, USDA.
Links checked June 2018