How Has No One Heard of the Michigan State Kiwi?
You learn something new every day!
And it truly feels like I learn something new about Michigan each day-- despite having been born and raised in West Michigan! I feel like there's still so much I don't know about my own home.
Just in the 2 years I've been living back in Michigan after spending 7 years out in the Heartland, I've learned we have native cacti in The Mitten as well as flying squirrels, ancient petroglyphs, and the largest pickle factory in the world. Neat, huh?
Well get ready to have your mind blow because "I was today years old" when I learned this fact: Michigan has kiwis!
Michigan State Kiwi
Yes, believe it or not Michigan has its own variety of hardy kiwi which has been described as, "very good for snacking." Now by all accounts I have black thumb but how on Earth are these edible oversized berries able to thrive in Michigan's harsh climate?
According to Robert Williams, owner of Broken Shovel Kiwi Farm in Washington and a Michigan State alum, these Michigan State kiwi have adapted to survive harsher climates. However, what's more bizarre about this hardy kiwi is its origins!
Where Did They Come From?
Upon rediscovering the existence of the illusive Michigan State kiwi, staff at the publication MSU Today did some digging and found it was rogue Michigan State botanist William Gillis who had first planted the mysterious kiwi vines that would someday become the Michigan State kiwi.
According to the article Gillis first planted seeds he had collected from his world travels sometime during the '60s-'70s. After his passing it was Dan Sorensen, Penn State master gardener, who became the propagator of Michigan State kiwi.
Where to Buy Them
You can often find hardy kiwi varietals at your local farmers market when they're in season, or you can try your hand at growing your own as Williams says they're very forgiving.
When it comes to flavor, Williams describes the Michigan State kiwi as:
...a little less dense, a little bit juicier and still has a nice strong kiwi flavor. It’s perfect for a warm fall day. They also make a wonderful liqueur.
Ok, now I've got to get my hand on one of these. Have you ever heard of the Michigan State kiwi?