A tiny kiwi fruit…. the size of a cherry tomato with smooth skin that looks just like the traditionally sized kiwi fruit when cut open is being grown very successfully by a cooperative of farmers in southwest France – including one here in Clairac!
The new type of kiwi is already proving a big hit as it can be popped into the mouth like a berry as its skin is edible, making it perfect for snacking – especially as it is a ‘super fruit’ like its larger cousin, packed with Vitamin C, B1, B2, plenty of iron, calcium and traces of various minerals. Boxes of mini kiwi fruit are just starting to appear on fruit shelves and at Rungis the best known fruit market in Paris, priced at €2.50 – 4.00 for 250g.
After trials over the past two years, this year 500 hectares (1,235 acres) of mini kiwis are being grown here in the southwest with the aim of harvesting 10,000 tonnes. The mini kiwi fruit is sure to be a huge success as a handful will make a great nutritious snack but will also appeal to chefs as the fruit has gourmet appeal for decoration and the same distinctive taste as its larger cousin.
Southwest France is the world’s fifth largest producer of the standard sized kiwi fruit. Kiwi fruit originated in China; although many people think it must have been NewZealand
and that the fruit was named after the kiwi bird as they don’t look dissimilar! Kiwi fruit were first grown in Europe in the late 19th century and soon proved to be a successful fruit to grow commercially in France and production of kiwi fruit has increased dramatically here in the southwest in the last 12 years. In 2013 58,000 tonnes of kiwi fruit were grown and 23,000 tones of fruit were exported.
The harvest of the kiwi fruit usually begins in October and is completed within six weeks. A large portion of the fruit is kept in cold storage to sell in the following spring. The new mini kiwi fruit also has a good shelf life – around 45 days but I doubt once they box is opened that they will last very long at all because they taste great!