"We prune our kiwi fruit vines four times a year"

Everybody knows that Shaanxi, Guizhou, and Sichuan are the main kiwi fruit production areas of China, but few people know that Shandong also has an excellent climate for kiwi fruit production. Still, the overall surface area devoted to kiwi fruit plantation in Shandong is quite small. Qingdao Fenghe Ecological Agricultural Technology Co., Ltd. owns a kiwi fruit plantation in Qingdao, Shandong. The plantation is roughly 100 hectares and produces around 100 tons of kiwi fruit per year. Company spokesperson Zhang Hongshu recently talked about current conditions in the kiwi fruit market.

"The harvest of green kiwifruit concludes in late October. All the green kiwi fruit is already harvested, processed, and packed," said manager Zhang. "Our plantation is located in Qingdao, which enjoys a maritime climate, plentiful sunshine, and a big difference in temperatures between day and night. These conditions are excellent for the growth of sweet kiwi fruit. The BRIX value of our Xuxiang and Cuixiang kiwi fruit can reach 17% and more."

"Green kiwi fruit from Shandong enters the market in September and the supply season continues until February in the subsequent year. This period includes mid-Autumn Festival [21 September, 2021] and Spring Festival [1 February, 2022]. Chinese consumers often purchase premium fruit as gifts during the festive season. We mainly use WeChat shops and other e-commerce channels to satisfy our clients' demand for premium kiwi fruit. Although our annual production volume is limited, our kiwi fruit gift boxes sell very well during the festive season. The kiwi fruit season has now almost come to an end. We are just preparing for the last hectic period around Spring Festival," said manager Zhang.

Most retailers sell kiwi fruit separately, but Qingdao Fenghe Ecological Agricultural Technology only sells kiwi fruit in gift boxes. Every gift box contains 15 pieces of fruit at 10 yuan [1.58 USD] per piece of fruit. "We started selling our kiwi fruit at these prices in 2015 and have not changed them. However, we also used to have tourists visit our model orchard to pluck their own kiwi fruit, but the pandemic put an end to that. Our offline sales figures have gone down," explained manager Zhang.

When asked why the price of their kiwi fruit is so much higher than the market average, manager Zhang replied, "we uphold ecological plantation principles. We innovate natural planting methods and do not add agricultural chemicals. And we work hard to protect the environment. For example, our plantations imitate natural growing conditions for kiwi fruit, such as grass throughout the plantation, or oilseed rape and castor-oil plants below the kiwi fruit vines. The latter help reduce insect pests and add to the organic quality of the soil. In addition, we also prune our vines four times a year to guarantee the flavor and product quality of every single piece of kiwi fruit."

"We use natural planting methods. The production volume per tree is only around 10-15 kg per year. That is only one fifth of the production volume of industrial planting methods. Our kiwi fruit is also slightly smaller than the average kiwi fruit in the market. However, the fruit is healthier and safer. We have held organic certification for more than 7 years now. We have specialized product quality inspections every year, and there has never been any indication of harmful or poisonous substances on our fruit. All our clients tell us that they can really taste the difference. We just focus on high product quality, and client appreciation will follow. The fact that our price is slightly above market average has never been a problem."

In addition to traditional green kiwi fruit, the company also produces 'Precious Red', a red heart kiwi fruit variety. "This product variety was developed by North West Agriculture and Forestry University. Not only is the flavor pure, but the greatest selling point is that the 'Precious Red' is edible as soon as the fruit begins to ripen. Other varieties have to soften a long time before they become edible. That makes the 'Precious Red' a very convenient kiwi fruit variety," said manager Zhang. "This variety enters the market around mid-autumn festival and the supply season continues until the middle of October."

For more information:

Zhang Hongshu

Qingdao Fenghe Ecological Agricultural Technology Co., Ltd.

Tel.: 15753219272 

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