As well as it being the 10th anniversary of the Enzed Exotics 'Kiwano' brand, the company's growers say the overall quality of the fruit is some of the best they have ever seen.
New Zealand’s hot dry summer has been a contributor to exceptional yield and quality in its 2019 Kiwano harvest. Head grower Alan Hutchings has been growing the fruit for more than 30 years and says the colour and flavour is the best he's seen.
“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," he said. "The pulp inside has a vibrant colour and pure flavour."
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.
The New Zealand Kiwano season runs from late January to May/June, with fruit shipped by both air and sea freight, and Mr 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," he said. "So, we’re really pleased that the quality of this year’s harvest has organically reduced our resource use.”
Photo: Alan Hutchings
Kiwano is grown in the Bay of Plenty region near the coast, which Enzed Exotics say is lush and fertile environment, also known as the ‘Kiwifruit capital of the world’.
The company has a long-term commitment to sustainable farming practices and Mr 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," Mr Hutchings said. "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.”
To ensure the benefits of our natural growing environment flow throughout the growing process, the company says it propagate all seedlings from their own seed. This also allows the growers to select the desired characteristics and flavour.
CEO Vanessa Hutchings adds 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," she said. "Kiwano is low in kilojoules 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.”