A fruit from China
Contrary to popular belief, this small, downy fruit does not come from New Zealand, even if it does bear the name of their brown, downy bird, the kiwi.
It is, in fact, a fruit from the mountain forests of China. Kiwifruit grows in the wild on particularly robust vines from the genus Actinidia, which somewhat resemble grapevines. Kiwifruit, also known as “Chinese gooseberries”, are considered a delicacy and was relatively unknown in the world until the 18th century. Kiwifruit was brought to Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, principally for its beauty as an ornamental plant. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that it was cultivated at a large scale, first in New Zealand, then in California, and then around the world. In France, this quirky fruit didn’t grace our plates until the 1980s.
Hayward: the star of the kiwifruit
The world champion of kiwifruit is the Hayward green kiwifruit, named after the New Zealand nurseryman who selected it in the 1920s. This decidedly original fruit can have many colours: in China, kiwifruit can be yellow or even red, with smooth or hairy skin, with the smallest being the size of a grape. In France, we have even developed our own varieties: the “Oscar® Gold”, a yellow kiwifruit, the early-maturing “Summerkiwi”, or the minuscule “Nergi®” baby kiwi. It is a baby that has grown up: 5 million boxes should be sold in 2017.
1 million tonnes of kiwifruit are produced every year around the world. China leads the pack, followed by New Zealand and Italy. France is the third largest producer of kiwifruit in Europe and the sixth in the world. The French production, of which a third is exported, is concentrated in the south-west area, where 65% of production takes place. Kiwifruit is produced from November to May.
Kiwifruit is the 10th most purchased fruit in France, with inhabitants consuming around a billion kiwifruit every year.
Kiwifruit: a fruit with hidden virtues
Kiwifruit is a winter fruit par excellence.
Kiwi is a little healthful champion: just one of these fruits has the recommended daily intake of vitamins C, B1, B2, iron, calcium, and provitamin A! It also has numerous trace elements. As if that weren’t enough, kiwifruit are ideal for good health and help with weight loss.
In short, the kiwifruit is not done surprising yet!