Kiwi Fruit History
Kiwi fruit, Actinidia chinensis, was formerly known as the Chinese gooseberry. Surprisingly, although it is associated with New Zealand, kiwi fruit actually originated in the Chang Kiang Valley of China. The Chinese used it as a tonic for children and women after childbirth due to its high nutritional value, but never truly enjoyed it as a fruit.
It was first exported from Asia as an ornamental vine, perfect for arbors, in the early 1900s. The kiwi fruit arrived first in 1904 in the United States and later in 1906 found its way to New Zealand. Yet it was the New Zealanders who recognized the potential of this succulent fruit and began cultivating it for commercial profit.
Due to novelle cuisine movement of the 70's, the kiwi fruit gained great popularity in the USA. New hybrids include the baby kiwis, which are green, smooth, about the size of table grapes, and eaten much like them. Today, California provides 95 percent of the US crop. Out of the four main varieties, the most popular is the "Hayward," a variety developed by New Zealand horticulturist Hayward Wright. Luckily, the opposite growing season of New Zealand makes kiwi fruit available year-round in the Northern hemisphere.
[Source from; homecooking.about.com]