The supply of local berries on the European continent will increase in the coming days with the arrival on the market of the first kiwiberries from Portugal. "Minikiwi Farm will start supplying its kiwiberries from week 31, and we will continue to do so until the second week of September," says Ricardo Machado. "Portugal is currently one of the main producers of this fruit and we are also the first to supply kiwiberries to the European market."
"Our farm is located in Vila Nova de Famalicão, between Braga and Oporto. The climate of this region gives us the necessary amount of cold hours in the winter, and it also ensures an earlier production than other areas," says Ricardo. "In addition to our own production, we work with other Portuguese growers, and together the acreage reaches 15-18 hectares, from which we expect to obtain between 70,000 and 80,000 kilos of kiwiberris of the Geneva and Weiki varieties this season. These are sold under our Kiwish brand in 125 gram containers."
The kiwiberry is a relatively new berry and does not yet have a market of the size of those of blueberries or raspberries, says Ricardo, but the fruit from this family business, founded by his father in 2014, reaches destinations in all of Europe. "Quality is the most important aspect, and by guaranteeing quality, we are guaranteed to have a market."
The kiwiberry is an actinide, like kiwifruit, but it is much smaller. It is eaten whole, with the peel. Its shape makes it a perfect snack, and its nutritional properties make it very healthy. In fact, kiwiberries contain 5 times more vitamin C than an orange, 2 times more vitamin E than a banana and the same amount of vitamin B6 as spinach, and it is also a good source of antioxidants.
"In 2013, my father, assisted by a professor from Ghent, conducted the first test with a small plantation of kiwiberries. The goal was to see if they would adapt well to Portugal. Ever since, we have gradually grown to become one the largest kiwiberry producers in Europe."
Kiwiberry farm of Minikiwi Farm.
Year-round berry marketers
In addition to specializing in the cultivation of kiwiberries, Minikiwi Farm has expanded its activity in the berry segment with the marketing of other berries.
"In the last two years we have built very strong partnerships with producers from different origins (Portugal, Spain, Morocco...), and this is allowing us to supply customers all year round. We market raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, currants and also blackberries."