Rome – The story of the first and only precocious kiwi variety of the world began more than twenty years ago, with an accurate plant selection realized by the Italian researchers with the collaboration of the nursery Dal Pane.
The new kiwi was registered with the name Summer 3373 and soon it became a business – with the commercial brand Summerkiwi™ - thanks to its peculiar features. Summerkiwi™ ripens 50 days earlier than the Hayward variety and it has a delicate and less acid taste than a normal green kiwi. Its sugar content can reach 18 Brix degrees but it is very good already when it reaches 12-13 Brix degrees.
The pulp of Summerkiwi™ is very soft, even in its very central part and so it is called the tender-hearted kiwi. A firm with exclusive rights on the Summerkiwi™ brand has been created in 2001 with the name Summerfruit in order to propagate this kiwi variety, which is now cultivated mainly by Italian and French growers. In 2003 Summerkiwi-France has also been created to coordinate the French production.
The kiwi production amounted 2.500 MT in 2005 and the outlook for 2006 is 3.000 MT, with further annual increases of 20%. The actual acreage amounts 600 ha worldwide with a scheduled acreage of 1.500 ha in 2010. Summerkiwi™ will count almost 1.200 ha in the northern hemisphere and almost 1.000 ha in the southern in 2012, in order to benefit of a longer production calendar and of greater volumes. Currently the commercialization period goes from September to December.
"The quality of our products begins long before they reach the consumer’s table – explains marketing manager Giampaolo Dal Pane - because we provide Summerfruit associates continuous and careful assistance in all the cultivation phases. Our technicians advise growers about the best and most productive typologies of installation and recommend them ground, water and leaves analysis, in order to define specific fertilization programs.
Regular visits are moreover done on the fields at the occasion of all the most important cultivation tasks such as pollination, fertilization, summer pruning, recording of brix degree to establish the ideal time for harvesting and so on. But entering the Summerkiwi™ system does mean also commercial support and more opportunities to provide consumers a well-recognizable, high-quality product, with a traceability system from seeds to table."
Summerfruit provides its associates various packaging solutions as well (see table below). Its actual 20 associates are situated in the main geographical areas for the kiwi production and they provide the most important large distributors in Europe, USA, Australia, Japan and other countries.