WHAT IS KIWIFRUIT?
A kiwifruit is a delicious fruit recently introduced to BC from
New Zealand. The plant is native to the mountain sides of China and
was introduced to New Zealand in the early 1900s. It has thin brown
fuzzy skin, emerald green flesh and a distinctive ring of small,
black edible seeds. It is about the size of a chicken egg.
WHERE IS KIWIFRUIT PRODUCED IN BC?
In BC, kiwifruit are grown almost exclusively on the southern tip
of Vancouver Island, the area with the most moderate temperatures in
the province. Kiwifruit plants can be killed by cold weather, even
when they are dormant in the winter. Tests in BC and New Zealand
show that a kiwifruit plant is killed if the temperature drops lower
HOW MUCH KIWIFRUIT DO WE PRODUCE?
Before 1987, there was no commercial kiwifruit production in BC
In 1987, BC produced 18,000 kg and now we produce
450,000 kg of
kiwifruit a year. This is about 6,500,000 kiwifruit.
HOW IS KIWIFRUIT PRODUCED?
Kiwifruit are grown on vines. The vines are dioecious which means
a vine is either male or female. Both male and female vines have to
be grown. The female vines produce the fruit but the male blossoms
are needed to cross pollinate the female blossoms. In commercial
operations there is 1 male vine to 6 to 8 female vines. It takes 7
years for a kiwifruit vine to mature from seed. A mature vine can
produce over 1000 kiwifruit a year.
Kiwifruit require well drained soil. To start a commercial
operation, dormant vines are planted in March or April. As the vines
start to grow they are pruned and trained along a trellis system.
The trellises must be strong because kiwifruit vines exert
tremendous pressure when they are loaded with fruit. The new shoots,
which grow each year off the previous season's wood, produce the
fruit. Blossoming occurs in mid-June for about 10 days. Kiwifruit
need to be irrigated during the summer months and a mature vine can
use up to 20L of water a day. Kiwifruit are harvested by hand during
October and early November. Ripeness is determined by using a hand
held instrument (a refractometer), which determines the level of
sugar in the fruit. When the fruit on average reach 7% sugar the
entire field is harvested. At this point they are still hard and too
sour to eat but they are picked, graded and packed into cartons and
kept in cold storage where further ripening occurs naturally.
WHAT DOES KIWIFRUIT LOOK LIKE WHEN I USE IT?
Most kiwifruit grown in BC are eaten fresh. Kiwifruit are good
for us. They have more vitamin C than a similar sized orange, more
potassium than a banana and more fibre than a cup of bran flakes.
Kiwifruit can also be used in jams and jellies and fresh kiwifruit
applied to meat works very well as a meat tenderizer.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE KIWIFRUIT LEAVES THE FARM?
After the kiwifruit are harvested, they are put into cold storage
where they slowly continue to ripen. When they are to be eaten, they
are removed from storage, ripened and sold to consumers to be eaten
as the fruit soften.
WHAT CHALLENGES DOES THE KIWIFRUIT PRODUCER FACE?
Since kiwifruit need a long season to ripen, producers are
looking for ways to control the weather conditions. Young plants are
wrapped to stay warm in the winter and all plantings have overhead
sprinklers to prevent frost damage.
WHO'S INVOLVED IN PRODUCING KIWIFRUIT?
- Kiwifruit grower
- Cold storage operators
- Farm advisors
- Supply companies
2 medium kiwifruit (148g)
||Calories from Fat 10
||% Daily Value*
|Total Fat 1g
|Saturated Fat 0g
|Total Carbohydrate 24g
|Dietary Fibre 4g
|Vitamin A 2%
||Vitamin C 240%
|*Percent Daily Values are based
on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Interesting Fact About Kiwifruit:
The consumer demand for kiwifruit has increased dramatically
since 1985. More than 10 times as many kiwifruit are bought now as
then. BC is the only place in Canada where kiwifruit is
- Contacts and other resources:
- BCMAL -
Tree Fruit Information
- InfoBasket: Your Portal to Agri-Food Information on the Internet
- Kiwifruit Growers Association of BC