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  • Katrina Tracy

In the Abyss: 43 Types of Kiwi

In the abyss there are many forgotten, or perhaps not so much forgotten but unknown, things. Do you know of Claudette Colvin? What does the Fallopian Tube do? Is there a Mac Mafia? It is dark in here, and knowledge is the only light, and this week’s liberation will be for the Kiwifruit.

Kiwi was first grown in Northern China, with writings on the gooseberry-like fruit as early as the twelfth century. Most people know this lovable little fruit as a New Zealand staple, but it only reached the island in the early 1900s. Kiwi, and many other generally rare foods, were pioneered by Frieda Caplan in the 1960s. She diversified the supermarket produce section, adding more than just the few types of lettuce, onion, banana and potato they had been selling, but her real hit was the Kiwi. Attempts for kiwi to reach the American market didn’t initially take off, and so Frieda came in and changed the name from“Chinese gooseberry” to “kiwifruit” to sound more appealing. With the name change, she had found a winner.

Kiwi at Whole Foods (Katrina).

All Kiwi are a part of the Actinidia family, though there are two distinct splits. There is the Kiwi you think of when you eat them in the grocery store- the fuzzy-wuzzy Actinidia Deliciosa. And then there is Actinidia Chinensis or Actinidia Arguta, the smooth apple-looking kiwi fruit, known as the Hardy Kiwi. Of these two types, there are further distinctions, the highlights of which include: green flesh, yellow flesh, and various breads such as the “Natasha Russian Kiwi” and “Arctic Beauty Kiwi”.

Although Kiwi are known for their sweet and tangy taste, they have much more to offer. New research shows that Kiwis help you sleep because of their high levels of antioxidants, and serotonin. Another interesting point about Kiwis is that while most reproduce with one male and female plant, some are self pollinating.

The grocery store has transformed since Frieda Caplan and the 60s' monotonous sadness. Most grocery stores in the U.S. carry many different types of exotic fruits and vegetables, as well as native products. But on the other hand, humanity still subsists off of a small amount of produce. Of the 43 types of kiwi, only two are commonly available. The many different species of fruits and vegetables are oppressed by mass-market supermarket corporations who seek to produce huge quantities of the same products at the lowest cost. It’s been a long time since different breeds of wheat were available, and many have become extinct. This system is affecting both soil quality and people’s health. So the next time you go to the grocery store, pick up a Hayward Kiwi and eat it before bed.


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