Although there is a great deal of interest in growing the hardy kiwifruit (A. arguta) commercially in Oregon, very little information is available specific to this species. Most of the following information relates to the fuzzy kiwi, Hayward. However, where information on hardy kiwifruit is available, differences are noted.
Once the minimum maturity standards have been achieved, all of the fruit can be harvested in one picking. Harvest fruit by hand. To harvest fuzzy kiwifruit, pickers should wear soft cotton gloves to prevent damage to the skin (fuzz) of the fruit. Fruit are easily damaged by rough handling even though they seem quite hard at this stage of maturity.
If arguta fruit are too vine ripe or soft, fruit will tear at the stem end. This is not a problem when harvesting at 8 to 9 oBrix and fruit are hard. Do not harvest prematurely softened fruit, as their shelf life is very poor.
Keep fruit in the shade while awaiting transport, and cool them as quickly as possible to maximize storage. Field heat must be removed quickly from fruit after harvest, because the fruit can lose water quickly. After 3 to 4 percent water loss, fruit may appear shriveled, especially at the stem end. This is less of a problem with A. deliciosa in Oregon (compared to California) because fruit are harvested in October.
Softening of kiwifruit also is temperature-dependent — fruit at 41oF (5 oC) soften three times faster than fruit at 32 oF (0 oC). Avoid exposing fruit to ethylene, a gas that promotes ripening and fruit softening.
Fruit usually are sorted for size and quality before packing. If fruit are not packed immediately, store them in large bins.
Bernadine C. Strik, Extension Berry Crops Specialist, Oregon State University.
This fact sheet is adapted from Oregon State University Extension Publication EC1464, Growing Kiwifruit.