New Zealand Kiwano grower Enzed Exotics says the country’s hot dry summer has been a contributor to exceptional yield and quality in its 2019 Kiwano harvest.
Head grower Alan Hutchings said the colour, flavour and overall quality of fruit is “some of the best I’ve ever seen” in a 30-plus year career of growing Kiwano.
“Nearly every Kiwano coming off our fields has the plump shape and colour pattern we’re looking for which indicates a beautiful piece of fruit. The pulp inside has a vibrant colour and pure flavour.”
This season marks the 10th anniversary of the Enzed Exotics brand of naturally grown Kiwano. The New Zealand Kiwano season runs from late January to May/June, with fruit shipped by both air and sea freight.
Hutchings said the company decided to create a brand because it was producing a premium product through the way the fruit was sustainably grown and handled.
“My mantra has always been healthy soil, healthy fruit. We do not farm intensively and choose not to use harsh chemicals or pesticides, only using natural fertiliser on our plants and weeding by hand.”
“It does take more time and labour. But the end result is fruit that we believe has an unmatched quality, longevity and purity of flavour.”
Hutchings said the reject rate was at very low levels this season.
“Because we are delivering a premium product, there’s always going to be some attrition during our quality control process. So we’re really pleased that the quality of this year’s harvest has organically reduced our resource use.”
CEO Vanessa Hutchings said the exotic category was benefiting from strong consumer focus on health benefits and wholefood eating.
“Consumers are definitely seeking out produce that offers something a little bit different. Kiwano is low in kJ and natural sugars, and is a source of magnesium, potassium and dietary fibre. Magnesium in particular is an essential mineral we’re hearing a lot about lately due to its benefits for sleep, energy and overall wellbeing.”
The flavour of Kiwano is described as a refreshing mix of banana, passionfruit and lime. It can be eaten fresh or used in a large variety of drinks, desserts, and savoury dishes.