THE KIWI JOURNEY - FROM SEED TO STORE
Did You Know
It takes a lot of hard work and plenty of patience to bring the deliciousness of Zespri® Kiwifruit to your door. Fortunately, Zespri® has some of the best farmers working closely with us to make sure that every kiwifruit is packed full of life-enriching nutrients and lip-smacking flavor.
A lot of research and development went into making sure that our kiwifruit are of the highest quality with the most nutritional value. How does it go from humble seedling to a powerhouse superfood in your local grocery store?
Where Does Zespri Kiwifruit Come From?
Zespri growers now number just over 2,500 in New Zealand, over 150 in Italy, 800 in Japan, 130 in South Korea and around 50 in France. But the majority of Zespri kiwifruit comes from New Zealand. We talked about this process in a previous blog, "Where Are Zespri® Kiwifruit Grown?":
"The entire process can take up to five years of intensive care before the plants can produce enough fruit to harvest. Through the careful processes of our Zespri® System, our growers harvest around 3.7 billion kiwifruits per year with nearly 30,000 acres in production."
Why New Zealand?
New Zealand provides the ideal conditions for growing kiwifruit. Plentiful sunshine, rain and just the right amount of chill in the winter. Plus, the soil has to be premium. That means, perfectly fertile with just the right acid balance. The soil needs to be slightly acidic — but not too acidic!
Kiwifruit vines thrive in fertile, moist soils that are free draining and contain pH levels between 5.0 and 6.8. New Zealand's favorable temperate climate and volcanic soils produces ideal growing conditions, in an environment that growers respect and protect.
The Four Seasons of Zespri Kiwifruit
Remember: the growing season is long — nearly 240 days out of the year. Not only that, but it takes about five years' worth of intensive care before the plants produce enough fruit for sale.
But they only grow in ideal conditions: fertile, moist and slightly acidic soil, a sunny climate and not too much wind. So you can’t just plant an orchard anywhere. You need expertise and experience, and the conditions have to be favorable.
Zespri® kiwifruit grows in carefully selected orchards. The growers plant the young bushes in rows between 16 and 20 feet apart. The result of their work is not immediately forthcoming, since up to five years’ intensive care is needed before the plants produce enough fruit for sale.
|June - August||
The New Zealand kiwifruit growing season begins with vine pruning in winter, which immediately follows the previous year’s harvest.
Kiwifruit grows on the branches of bushes, which can be compared to grapevine tendrils.
During the winter months the vines lay dormant, allowing growers the opportunity to remove last season’s fruiting canes and to select and tie down new canes, which form the foundations for new growth.
|September - November||
Kiwifruit vines start to grow again in springtime. New shoots appear on the canes along with the first flower buds.
And between mid-September to mid-November, with the help of bees, kiwifruit flowers are pollinated. The vines then begin to fruit with the pollinated flowers transform themselves into small berries.
|December - February||
During the summer months, the kiwifruit vines undergo tremendous growth. To manage the canopy, growers frequently prune the vines. This helps to direct growth and manage the canopy (the canes can sometimes reach up to 20 feet in length during the growing process).
The fruit grow quickly during the summer months.
Kiwifruit crop volume can be estimated at this time and the kiwifruit selectively thinned to optimize fruit size.
|March - May||
As the weather cools in the New Zealand autumn, it's harvest time. The kiwifruit are tested for ripeness (and who wouldn't want this job?).
The kiwifruit that pass our high-quality standards are carefully picked by our huge team of workers. From there, the kiwifruit are transported to a packhouse where they will be packed and stored, ready for shipping out to stores.
As May comes to a close, the leaves start to drop from the vines. This means it's the end of another growing year. The vines enter into a dormant state, awaiting the coming of spring.
A System for Taste
But it's not just the climate and soil that makes Zespri® Kiwifruit the powerful combination of nutrition and taste that it is. The healthful vitality of our kiwifruit comes from our unique growing process that covers every stage of the kiwifruit's journey from seed to storefront.
That's where the Zespri® System comes in!
This is a comprehensive set of quality standards that ensure that only the best procedures are used in growing our kiwifruit. From the absolute best, cutting edge orchard management techniques to supply chain management that guarantees all Zespri Kiwifruit are delivered in perfect condition — every time.
And all with a keen focus on sustainable development and care for the natural environment, from irrigation to pest control, cultivation to storage and transport. Since 1997, all Zespri growers follow the guidelines step by step, no matter which country their orchard is in.
That's how Zespri has been able to invest in sustainable crops in Italy, Japan, South Korea and France that all bring the same vitality and great taste that you would come to expect from the Zespri name.
At the heart of all this, though, is our family of growers. They put care at the core of their values and you can taste it in every bite of Zespri® Green and SunGold™ Kiwifruit.
How Can I Find Zespri Kiwifruit Near Me?
Need to re-up your kiwifruit supply? Want to start incorporating kiwifruit into your diet? Click here to find Zespri SunGold and Green Kiwifruit at grocery stores near you.
Once you're all stocked up, it's time to get cooking! And don't forget to share your recipes on social media with us. Tag your creations @ZespriKiwi and you might get featured!