2014 Local Hero Awardee: Squash Inc.
Each year, CISA presents three Local Hero Awards to farms, businesses, and/or individuals who exemplify our mission of strengthening the connection between farmers and the community. We applaud their hard work, social responsibility, and many contributions to sustaining local agriculture. Congratulations to our 2014 Local Hero Awardee, Squash Inc.!
Check out the recent press on Squash Inc. here:
Business partners Eric Stocker and Marge Levenson know that to compete in the food distribution business you have to stand out. Co-owners of Squash, Inc., Stocker and Levenson have built a flourishing local company that is integral to our local food system. In a business with small profit margins and giant competitors, Squash succeeds because dedication to both its suppliers and its customers is at the center of the company’s daily operations.
There’s no doubt that a Squash truck making a single delivery to its restaurant customers is much more efficient than a dozen farms delivering their own fresh produce to each business.
Squash, which has nine full-time employees and annual sales of about $3 million, operates four trucks that deliver daily to local restaurant, retail, and institutional customers throughout the Pioneer Valley. Three times a week Squash Inc.’s tractor trailer departs from its Belchertown loading dock full of Valley produce destined for the New England Produce Center in Boston. The truck returns carrying produce purchased in Boston to supplement what is available from local farms.
Whenever possible, Squash purchases locally, consistently buying from more than twenty Valley farms each year. Though the majority of its fruits and vegetables are grown conventionally, the company also offers organic produce. Most of the butter, eggs, cheese, tofu, and other soy products Squash carries are produced in Massachusetts or Vermont.
Widely respected in the Valley for its commitment to local agriculture and loyalty to local growers, Squash provides a dependable market and prompt payment to suppliers, and a reliable supply and prompt delivery to customers. Squash’s customers range from Cooper’s Corner to Trader Joe’s; the company also serves numerous restaurants and institutional accounts, including several public school systems and Amherst College.
Squash considers local growers to be essential partners. Stocker observes that his company has a lot in common with its suppliers: “We’re a small independent business; so are they.” The partnership is mutually beneficial. One farmer, Casey Steinberg of Old Friends Farm, speaks highly of the company’s reliability, integrity, and commitment to its suppliers, and praises the fact that it trusts the judgment of its growers about introducing new products.
The ability to offer high quality food, grown locally by Valley farmers, helps Squash stand out from competitors that measure their annual sales not in millions, but in tens of billions. Quality, customer service, loyalty, trust, and partnership: These are the values that drive Squash, Inc.
CISA is proud to honor Squash, Inc., as a Local Hero.