Posted by Jenna Makowski / Monday, October 15th, 2012
1. They exist.
You’ve probably never heard of kiwi berries before because they’re not widely cultivated. Only about 200 acres of commercial farmland are devoted to kiwi berries—worldwide.
2. They have no fuzz.
Unlike their close cousins, regular old kiwis, kiwi berries got the short end of the stick when it came to genetic baldness. That’s mostly positive though, because you can pop kiwi berries in your mouth without peeling. About the size of large grapes, kiwi berries look exactly like mini kiwis on the inside. They taste similar too. Only better.
3. They come from Siberia.
And Northern China and Korea. Kiwi berries like it cold. The vines can survive temperatures below freezing, as long as the young shoots don’t get caught in an early spring frost.
4. They are packed with nutrition.
Tons of vitamin C (more than oranges). And lots of Vitamin E, fiber, magnesium—all sorts of good stuff.
5. You need to let them shrivel.
That’s advice directly from the mouth of kiwi berry grower Shawn Garretson of Beechwood Orchards in Biglerville, PA. Shriveled is when kiwi berries are at their sweetest.
6. They’re a nice autumn harvest complement to apples.
That’s why Garretson said he started growing them. Beechwood Orchards’ kiwi berries are newcomers to the market this year. There are two kiwi berry farming hot spots in the United States: one in Oregon and one in Pennsylvania. If you catch kiwi berries at the likes of Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, that’s probably where they came from.
Garretson has been tending, pruning and cultivating Beechwood Orchard’s kiwi berry vines for 6 years, and this is the first season they’ve had a marketable harvest. (Six years is about the normal maturation time for kiwi berry vines.)
7. You can buy kiwi berries in NoVA.
Beechwood Orchards has a stand at the Leesburg Farmers Market, and they’ll be selling kiwi berries through October. This is the end of the kiwi berry harvest season, so get them while you can.
Tags: Beechwood Orchards, farmers' market, Gut Check, kiwi berries, Leesburg farmers market, Northern Virginia, Northern Virginia farmers markets, Northern Virginia Magazine, NoVA, nova farmers market, Shawn Garretson