Summer squash (mainly C. pepo) are harvested before maturity, when they are still small and tender; common varieties are zucchini and yellow crookneck. Winter squash (mainly C. maxima, but also C. pepo, C. moschata or C. mixta) are harvested at full maturity (3-4 months after planting), when the rind is hard; common varieties are acorn squash and butternut squash. Winter squash have a higher carbohydrate content and are more nutritious. Squash grows rapidly, producing abundant foliage and a well-developed but rather superficial root system. Summer squash is normally seeded directly in the field, as is winter squash if the growing season is long enough. Winter squash can be stored at about 10°C, under dry, well-ventilated conditions. Squash species crossbreed readily; numerous cultivars vary enormously in shape, colour, size and texture.
The squash has a low commercial value in Canada, although its popularity has been growing over the past 30 years. There are now more than 6500 ha of land planted with squash every year; the crop is worth more than $40 million. Over 90% of squash sales come from fresh squash; the rest is from processed squash products. Squash are also increasingly being used as a tourist attraction in the agri-tourism industry. QUÉBEC and Ontario are the two main squash producers in Canada.
Author ROGER BÉDARD Revised: MÉLANIE FAFARD
Links to Other Sites
Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating
Check out the online Health Canada Food Guide for helpful tips on selecting nutritious food options and developing healthy lifestyles.
Pumpkin and Squash Production
A factsheet on pumpkin and squash production from the Government of Ontario website.
Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute
Check out this website for information and reports about current issues impacting on the productivity and competitiveness of Canada's agri-food sector.