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Wegmans to Introduce Brûlée Squash to Shoppers in the Fall

Grocer anticipates harvesting 2023 innovation crop in September
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
brûlée squash
The growing season for the brûlée squash officially kicked off in May, and Wegmans anticipates a September harvest.

This growing season, Wegmans Food Markets’ own farm in the Finger Lakes Region of New York state is preparing to harvest its first-year innovation crop. It’s a mini butternut squash that tastes like honeynut and goes by the name brûlée.

“I was first introduced to the brûlée squash at the Canandaigua Farmers’ Market by Porter Hunt, owner of Hunt Heritage Farm, and who previously worked at the Wegmans Organic Farm. He knew all about my love for honeynut and winter squashes,” explained Alison Hayes, ambassador at Wegmans Organic Farm and Orchard. “With its smooth and creamy texture and incredible flavor that’s less sweet than honeynut, but not as mild as butternut, I fell in love with this delicious squash!”

[Read more: "Another Vertical-Farming Company Files for Chapter 11"]

Hayes brought her new discovery back to the Wegmans Organic Farm team, and in October 2022, brûlée squash was identified as the major innovation crop for the 2023 growing season. Aptly named for the French dessert crème brûlée, brûlée squash has the potential to be shoppers’ go-to healthy comfort food.   

“Growing healthy, great-tasting, exceptional food is at the heart of what we do, and we’re excited to bring this new offering to our customers,” said Jack Timerson, veggie coordinator at the Wegmans Organic Farm. “This particular variety of squash is unique, not just for its flavor, but also because it was bred to be powdery-mildew resistant, which is something pretty much every grower around here struggles with. It’s also been bred for longer storage, which means it will be available to customers for longer.”

The growing season for the brûlée squash officially kicked off in May, and Timerson anticipates a September harvest. How many and which stores will receive the squash will depend on the yield.

If all goes well during this growing season (i.e., resulting in healthy, great-tasting fruit that is well received by customers), then Wegmans expects to expand to a 2-acre plot next year or select a partner grower who can grow it for the grocer on a larger scale.

Family-owned Wegmans  operates more than 100 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and Massachusetts. The company is No. 37 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named Wegmans a Top Regional to watch in 2023 and one of this year's 10 Most Sustainable Grocers.

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