One of New Zealand's leading growers, Bostock, is stepping up the supply of its new Kabocha squash hybrid, the Marron d'Or into the Chinese market, after last year's initial shipment proved to be a major hit with consumers.
Owner John Bostock says the company shipped 1,000 tonnes last year "as a sample", with plans to increase volumes throughout the coming year.
"It's a Japanese variety that is not available in China," he said. "The Chinese do like Japanese cuisine and it is gaining a lot of traction. It has a sweet, nutty flavour - which is really delicious - stays green for quite a period, and doesn't decay as quickly as other squash types. The Chinese are going 'gang busters' for it, and that was a big surprise for us. I think the Chinese are very receptive to new cuisine and new taste and something foreign and exciting such as this. It's a new taste to complement the local Chinese squash that isn't as sweet and doesn't have the flavours."
The Asian market is a significant one, as Bostock makes up around one fifth of New Zealand's 50,000 tonne annual shipment of all squash varieties to Japan, as well as one fifth of the 20,000 tonnes to Korea - and the numbers are on the rise, with existing markets also in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
"We think New Zealand's volume will double again," Mr Bostock said. "In 2017, New Zealand shipped about 1500 tonnes, and in 2018 New Zealand shipped about 3000 tonnes, and I am thinking that New Zealand will ship . . . . . >