Like seasonal clockwork feijoas drift out of our fruit bowls as kiwis appear. Hoddles Creek kiwi grower, Ian Cuming, spent the beginning of May with five highly motivated young backpackers (three Germans & two South Africans) picking his 15 tonne kiwi crop in two weeks versus the usual four.
When they finished Ian left a couple of kiwi pallets out of his coolroom to ripened and went off to Cambodia to catch up with his doctor wife, Anna, who is over there working at a public hospital.
When Ian got home he dropped one of his ripe kiwi pallets off at the new Fair Food warehouse. This year the fruit’s looking extra full. Ian says a wet early summer (kiwi’s need a lot of water) and a hard pruning last year means his kiwis are bigger than usual.
Interestingly, the 15 tonnes Ian picks is only half what the vines produced when he bought the once conventional kiwi farm back in 2002. Now, fifteen years on, Ian doesn’t fertilise his vines to force volumes of fruit, instead he concentrates on building life in his soil with bio-dynamic preparations. The result is a smaller crop but one with more intense flavour that also keeps very well.
You can buy Ian’s kiwis in our set boxes and in the webshop. You can also find him and Anna, when she’s back from Cambodia, at the these farmers markets – Collingwood, Flemington, Veg Out, Gasworks, Abbotsford Convent, Coburg and Kingston.