Vicky BoydDan Spain, vice president of sales and marketing for Kingsburg Orchards, checks the progress of gold kiwis in a Central California vineyard.In Asia where the gold kiwi has been grown for centuries, consumers place the fruit on a pedestal and offer it as an esteemed gift to hosts.
“In Asia, they regard this above everything else,” said Dan Spain, vice president of sales and marketing for Kingsburg Orchards. “When you give a gold kiwi, it’s a very special gift that you put some thought into.”
Retailers may get their own special presents at the 2013 Fresh Summit in New Orleans in October, when Kingsburg orchards hopes to offer samples of its first U.S. grown gold kiwis, he said.
The Kingsburg, Calif.-based grower-packer will be seeking input from retailers and marketers so it can develop a program for the 2014 season, when limited commercial volumes should be available from young central California vineyards.
“Give me your thoughts, and then we can sit down in March and April and develop the program,” Spain said. “We want customers to help us tell the story.”
Kingsburg Orchards also will seek partners who share their same commitment to proper ripening and handling of the gold kiwis, he said.
The newcomer will be marketed under the Kingsburg Orchards’ Dinosaur Brand, and it plans to incorporate a strong social campaign, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and blogs, into the program.
“We like social media a lot,” he said.
In addition, chefs will be used to help food service and consumers develop menus and recipes that feature the fruit.
Gold kiwis differ from the more common green, or Hayward, kiwis in several ways, most noticeably the internal bright yellow color.
The shape of gold kiwis is more heart like whereas green kiwis are more oval, and the gold kiwi tends to be less acidic.
What Spain said excites him most is the tropical flavor of the gold kiwi, which he’s sampled on trips to Asia.
He described it as a unique blend of pineapple, cherry and mango where no one flavor stands out.
“It’s got its own flavor blend,” Spain said. “It takes you back to the island with the water coming up on the beach.”
U.S.-grown fruit also should enter a marketing window in mid-October after New Zealand gold kiwis have finished.
“There’s nothing else in this time period that’s a gold kiwi, so for retailers, it will be nice,” he said.