Years ago, when Ed Weaver of Weaver’s Orchard in Morgantown considered adding kiwi berries, he offered samples to test the market. Many customers had never seen them before, but the response “was phenomenal,” and “the ‘wow factor’ was there.”
“Probably eight out of 10 people go, ‘Wow! That is really good,’” he said of the bite-sized, fuzz-free kiwis. “You can just pop them in your mouth and eat them.”
It’s kiwi berry season. Meet your new fall superfruit.
“The variety we grow is called Passion Popper,” Weaver explained. “They are very healthy. They’re very high in antioxidants” and full of fiber. Plus, “they’re so unique in their flavor.”
“It has the traditional kiwi flavor, but it’s a lot sweeter,” agreed Bass Samaan of Trees of Joy in Bethlehem, who sells the plant itself.
Aka hardy kiwi, “it’s an easy plant to grow, not really fussy. It does require support because it’s a vine,” he said. “People don’t realize kiwi is a vine, not a tree.”
The vine’s covered an arbor at Longwood Gardens since 1984.
“It’s beautiful. It’s done a great job for us over the years,” described Harold Taylor, section gardener. “I’ve always liked the plant, and I would say the biggest reason is ease of care. You don’t have to spray the fruit.”
At Weaver’s Orchard, find kiwi berries in the farm market or pick your own from a half-acre plot. Better hurry, though.
“I think they’re becoming more popular,” Weaver said.
Kiwi Berry-Raspberry Salad
1 head green leaf lettuce
½ pint red raspberries
½ pint kiwi berries
2/3 cup almonds, whole, chopped or slivered
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon celery seed or poppy seed
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh onion
1 cup olive oil
Vinaigrette: Mix together salt and celery seed/poppy seed. Add honey, vinegar, lemon juice and onion and beat with an electric mixer until thickened. Slowly add olive oil. Chill.
Wash lettuce thoroughly in a salad spinner. Gently rinse kiwi berries and raspberries. Remove the slightly fuzzy ends of the kiwi berries (if still attached.) Cut kiwi berries in half. In a sauté pan with a little bit of oil over medium heat, lightly toast the almonds. Remove from heat as soon as they begin to toast, being careful not to burn them. Toss salad ingredients together and serve with honey vinaigrette or your favorite vinaigrette. Serves 6.
RECIPE COURTESY OF WEAVER’S ORCHARD
Mint Chip “Nice” Cream with Kiwi Berries
This serves about 2 to 3 people depending on how big their appetite is. If you make it when everyone is at school and/or work, then it may only serve one. It will be our little secret. K? Hope you enjoy your “nice” cream!
3 frozen bananas (Peel and freeze when bananas are starting to brown. Freeze at least 6 hours or keep a Ziploc bag in your freezer at all times with frozen bananas.)
½ cup frozen avocado or zucchini chunks
½ cup frozen peeled kiwi berries (or kiwi fruit)
1 cup fresh spinach (about a handful)
15 to 20 mint leaves or 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 pitted date, 1 tablespoon raw honey or 1 kiwi (optional for sweetness)
Dark chocolate chips
Take your bananas out of the freezer and let them sit for about 10 to 15 minutes to thaw slightly. Cut into chunks and add bananas to a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix. Add the avocado, kiwi berries, spinach, mint leaves and a date (if using). Blend on high for about one minute until creamy using the tamper to push the ingredients into the blades. Scoop out into bowls using an ice cream scoop and fold in chocolate chips. Serve immediately. You can freeze the leftovers, but is best eaten right away.
Note: This can be made in a Cuisinart food processor or regular blender, but you will need to stop and scrape down the sides frequently. Keep running until you get a consistency of soft-serve ice cream. It takes a bit longer, but should work. Although I can’t attest to how well the spinach and mint leaves will be broken down.
RECIPE COURTESY OF TRACEY REZAPOUR AND WEAVER’S ORCHARD