It seems like only yesterday that the Internet fell in love with tiny avocados—the perfect answer for anyone who can’t use a whole avocado in one sitting, though I can’t relate—but now there’s a new tiny fruit that’s coming to steal your affection: the tiny kiwi.
Technically they’re called kiwi berries, or Actinidia Arguta, and they’re not truly new—they’re native to Northern China, Japan, Russian Siberia, and Korea, and have even been cultivated in the United States. Unlike your standard kiwi, the kiwi berry has one special feature that makes it especially desirable: it’s completely hairless on the outside and can be eaten whole, no peeling required. Though whether you even have to peel standard kiwis is debatable, kiwi berries are reportedly sweeter, more acidic “with a cotton candy finish,” and rich in vitamin C and potassium.
If you’re wondering why you’ve never seen them at the grocery store, it’s because efforts to commercialize the kiwi berry haven’t panned out, thanks to a short shelf-life and the risk of blight and other botanical diseases. Plus, because the vines apparently smell like catnip (gross), cats have been found to dig up the roots before they’re ready for harvest.
That’s now in the process of changing thanks to researchers and private cultivation companies like Nergi (pronounced ‘energy’), which cultivates the fruit in Northern Europe during the summer months. In the United States, kiwi berries are being grown mostly on farms in Oregon, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey, but judging by our undying fascination with designer fruit (anyone remember cotton candy grapes?), it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be able to pick up a clamshell of kiwi berries at every supermarket in the country.