Share

Understanding Hardy Kiwi Production

Kiwi pioneers Holly and Dave, at Kiwi Korners Farm in Danville, shared their hard-earned kiwi knowledge with PA-WAgN.
Holly Laubach showing Leah Tewksbury age and spacing differnces.

Holly Laubach showing Leah Tewksbury age and spacing differnces.

Holly and Dave spent 14 years developing their popular kiwi variety ‘passion poppers.’ That’s the level of experience that they had to offer the PA-WAgN group when we visited them in June.  The two farmers prepared a fantastic presentation for us in the morning, and then took us out to the vines.

Kiwi berries are varieties of the hardy kiwi fruit, and ones that have recently grown in popularity. In order to fruit, kiwis need both male and female plants- but it is often challenging to come by both sexes of plant at the store. Dave adamantly warned us about this issue.

Each variety of kiwi has it’s own preferences in climate, and flowers at a different time. Dave and Holly recommended experimenting with varieties, as they have done, to find a variety that suits your area. This might take a while, however, because it can take 10 years to get renewable fruit.

Out in the field, Kiwi Korners Farm had beautiful rows of kiwi vine that had just flowered. Around the perimeter of the fields, large trees had been planted with males placed upon them to pollinate the females below. The vines themselves were in raised beds, with T-bar trellises supporting the kiwi plants as the extended sideways. A big propeller sat in the middle of the farm, which Dave turned on to increase pollen flow.

Although Kiwi Korners farm does not produce their own value-added products, they were very excited about the foods that some collaborators had made. Kiwi berries make great wine, for instance, and we were encouraged to think up other possible kiwi products.

It was a great, informative day. We were very lucky to have come during the few days of flowering. Next time, we hope to be there during harvest!