Hawke's Bay squash growers Bostock New Zealand and Gisborne's Leaderbrand have entered into a partnership growing a new squash variety that's being snapped up in China.
Last year Bostock stepped up supply of the new variety, Marron d'Or, a Kabocha squash hybrid, into the Chinese market, after an initial shipment in 2017 proved a major hit with consumers.
Leaderbrand and Bostock will produce Marron d'Or exclusively.
Bostock New Zealand owner, John Bostock, said it was a Japanese variety not available in China.
"It has a sweet, nutty flavour which is really delicious. It stays green for quite a period, and does not decay as quickly as other squash varieties.
"I think the Chinese are very receptive to new cuisine and new tastes and something foreign and exciting such as this."
New Zealand squash volumes to China have been expanding at a rate of about 150 per cent every year, and very strong demand this year will see 2019 volumes more than double those of 2018.
Bostock said the two companies were "the heart" of New Zealand's squash industry.
"So partnering to market and sell this new variety makes sense and is very exciting," he said.
"We will be stronger together."