Although the kiwi is indigenous to northern and eastern part of China, today, it is grown in several countries around the world. Ironically, in China, kiwis are grown only on a small scale, but they are highly cultivated in Hawaii, New Zealand, Italy, California, Chile and South Africa. In the US, most of the kiwis are grown in the state of California.
The world's largest producer of kiwi is New Zealand. It supplies nearly 99 percent of the total kiwi in the world. Also, most of the kiwis grown in New Zealand are sent to Germany.
It was a lady by the name of Isabelle Fraser, who was responsible for bringing the kiwi vines to New Zealand. She brought seeds of the fruit from China and presented them to Alexander Allison. It was from these seeds that the first vines were grown in the country. It is claimed that all vines presently growing in New Zealand have descended from these initial vines that were grown by Allison.
In New Zealand, kiwi is grown on trellises, as the plants are vines that can attain a length of thirty feet. The vines have a short lifespan. They begin producing fruits in their first year and by the third year, fruit production declines. One of the reasons that kiwi vines have a short fruiting life is because the vines are extremely sensitive to changes in the weather. The vines need steady weather conditions along with lots of rainfall and well drained soil. Even a little bit of frost can end up damaging the vines. Also, the vines require full sunlight. While they can be planted in partial shade, they require protection from strong winds.
The vines begin to flower during May and June and require insects for pollination. However, as kiwi flowers are nectar-less, they tend not too attract too many bees. So, bees have to be brought in to pollinate the flowers. If bees are not there, then hand pollination is used.
Kiwi fruit is extremely rich in vitamins and minerals. It is a power house of folic acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, potassium and chromium. Due to the presence of actinidin, which is a proteolytic enzyme, the fruit works as an excellent meat tenderizer. However, initially, the fruits were not well received in the US. It was only during the Second World War that the fruit gained prominence among soldiers stationed at New Zealand. However, the fruit gained a foothold in the US only in the 1960s.
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Associated Content: The History of Kiwi Fruit, How They Are Grown, Allergies and More