The hardy kiwi: scourge or savior for farmers?

hardy kiwi fruits
The smooth-skinned hardy kiwi may never make it to a fruit salad near you. – Fotolia

Imagine a delicious grape-size fruit with twice the vitamin C of an orange, twice the dietary fiber of an apple, and as much potassium as a banana. Plus, it grows easily — perhaps too easily — in Massachusetts.

This little-known fruit, called a “hardy kiwi,” is a cousin of the more famous fuzzy kiwi you can buy in the produce aisle of any supermarket.

But the smooth-skinned berry may never make it to a fruit salad near you.

State agricultural officials consider the plant, the product of a fast-growing vine brought from Japan to Massachusetts in 1877, an invasive menace, more like kudzu than kiwi. So they are moving to add it to the state’s prohibited plant list, which would make Massachusetts the first state to ban its sale and importation.


The proposal has divided the gardening and horticultural community, sparking a bitter debate between critics and defenders of the hardy kiwi who are preparing to raise their pitchforks at a hearing Tuesday.

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