This September we had our second harvest from these 7 year old hardy kiwi vines.
The vines take several years after planting to their initial harvest. A female vine must be planted near a male for proper pollination. The fruits start growing early in the season and eventually get as large as a grape before the purple-ish blush develops and the fruits soften indicating ripeness
The first time I had one of these unique fruits it was slightly under ripe, but when I finally got a ripe one I was amazed at its sweetness. You can eat the whole fruit, it doesn't have the fuzziness of its mature cousins, which is great because skinning these little fruits would be near impossible.
The vines must be trellised to support their weight, and they grow quickly. In some areas they're considered invasive. Heavy pruning is required in the winter to keep growth under control. In the spring of 2014 we added 6 new female kiwi vines and 2 more male vines. It will be a few more years before we see our first harvest from the new vines, but I know they'll be well worth the wait.