Natural Foods Merchandiser

In season: Savory winter squash

It's autumn, and nothing signals the season better than the colorful displays of winter squash that greet your customers when they walk in the store.

Don't assume your customers know the unique taste of each different squash. You'd be surprised how many folks have never ventured beyond acorn. To help them, create labels describing the squash's flavor and texture (most seed companies have flavor descriptions on their websites.)

    Cut some of your larger squash into more manageable pieces like halves and quarters. After all, not everyone can or wants to eat an entire Hubbard or butternut squash. Wrap and price the pieces, and put them in your refrigerated, dry vegetable display. This will also add some nice orange or yellow color next to the green beans, cucumbers and mushrooms.
    Offer samples of a different baked squash on a busy Saturday afternoon. Make sure your staff eats the squash, too. Their enthusiasm for a favorite squash can go a long way in recommending the best squash variety for a customer. Teach your staff basic cooking techniques for winter squash, such as simple steaming or baking recipes, and post them for customers as well.
    Train staff how to select a squash so they can pass it on to customers. A squash should be:
  • Bright in color—not dull.
  • Heavy for its size. (A light squash means it's getting old and is losing its moisture, which can affect the flavor and texture.)

    Let them know that squash, which is high in vitamin A, complements storage-root vegetables like turnips and rutabagas that contain vitamin C. These vitamins work well together to help keep you healthy in the winter.

    Colorful, delicious, easy to cook and packed with nutrients, winter squash are a perfect complement to any meal.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 8/p. 18

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