WEEKLY SPECIALS | SEASONAL CALENDAR | GROWER MAP

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Kiwi Berries Pop and Go!

It is kiwi berry time again! The season is very short, end of September through the beginning of October, so you don’t want to miss out. Kiwi berries are a member of the Actinidia genus family, the same as a regular kiwi and have been described as a cousin of the kiwi we all know.  They taste exactly like a kiwi but they are about the size of a grape, fuzzless, with edible seeds and you just pop them whole into your mouth.  Kiwi berries are also known by the name hardy kiwi, artic kiwi or baby kiwi.

Kiwi berries are native to China, Korea, and Russian Siberia, much like the kiwifruit.  It is a fast-growing, hardy, perennial vine, in need of a frost-free season of 150 days. Each vine can grow up to 20 feet in a single season! Because of their seasonal requirements, they are well suited for areas of the North East and North West, and in fact, have become somewhat of an invasive weed in certain areas because of their rapid growth. Earl’s kiwi berries are grown in Wilsonville, Oregon about 30 minutes south of Portland.

Kiwi Berries are a nutritional powerhouse and a healthy food source containing over 20 nutrients. Each 6 oz portion contains twice the amount of Vitamin E of an avocado but with only 60% of the calories, 5 times the Vitamin C of an orange and more potassium than bananas.  Kiwi Berries are also high in fiber and rich in folic acid.

In order to bear fruit, both female and male kiwiberry plants must be present. While the plants are maturing bugs and animals will not attack the fruit because it tastes terrible. Vines start to flower in May, and fruit is available to harvest in autumn.  One plant can produce up to 100 pounds of fruit a year! The fruits are picked hard, and ripened off the vine.

Kiwi berries ripen at room temperature and are ready to eat when the skin turns a darker green, wrinkles and gently yields to touch. Similar to a kiwi they will be slightly acidic until ripe when they will be very sweet. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks but if you are like me they won’t last that long.

Kiwiberries can be used in a variety of ways, from being preserved as jam to being used as a marinade (kiwiberries are an excellent meat tenderizer). Try them in a salad, on a tart or cake, or just pop them in your mouth as a delicious sweet snack!

 

 

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