Return to Headlines

Fruit and Veggie Fun Facts of the Month


Text Box:  	Kiwifruits
Fact Sheet 	 

Where did they come from?

Kiwifruit is more than 700 years old. The kiwifruit began in the Yang-tse river valley in China where they called it “Yangtao”. It grew wild on vines that wrapped around trees. Between 1800 and 1900 samples of the fruit and seeds were sent to England. In 1904 plant cuttings were brought to the United States. It was not until the 1960’s that the U.S. received its first shipment of kiwi from New Zealand. At that time it was called the “Chinese Gooseberry”. The United States renamed kiwifruit after New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi. It’s appropriate that this fuzzy, brown, egg shaped fruit was named after the kiwi bird. The non-flying kiwi bird is also fuzzy and brown. California started growing kiwi during the 1970’s, which is when it became available for the first time across the country.

Where do they grow?

Most kiwifruit from our country is grown in California. Imported kiwi is grown in Chile and New Zealand. Kiwifruit can be found in your local supermarket all year long. California kiwi is available November to May, Chile kiwi is available April to November and New Zealand kiwi is available June through December.

How do they grow?

Kiwifruit plants are first grown in hot houses where the roots and vines are grafted together. Later the kiwifruit plants are transplanted to fields where their vines are trained to grow on a trellis or lattice style frame. Kiwifruits need plenty of water to grow. A developing kiwi plant is called a berry. A plant may take up to three to five years before it produces fruit. Their vines can grow as high as 15 feet. Fruit hangs from the vines like a bunch of grapes. Kiwi is hand picked by workers wearing white cotton gloves to protect the fruit from damage.

Are they healthy?

 High in vitamins C & E and potassium            Good Source of fiber

Fat free, sodium free and cholesterol free

How do you pick a good one?

 Buy firm kiwi; Ripen at room temperature for 3-5 days

 Choose ones that are plump, have a pleasant smell, and are slightly soft to the touch, like ripe peaches

 Avoid those with wrinkles, bruises or soft spots




Which of the following statements most describes you?


1.  I love kiwifruit and eat it all the time; peeling and slicing it is no problem at all.


2.  I enjoy kiwifruit, but it sure is a pain to get past that fuzzy skin to enjoy the fruit inside.

If you answered 2 (and trust us, a lot of people feel the same way), we’ve got a solution for you.  It’s called Slooping

It’s the ideal way to enjoy kiwifruit!

Slooping a kiwi is simple and quick, and can be done almost anywhere.  Once you start Slooping you’ll never look at a kiwi the same way again!  Something that was once inconvenient and exotic will become an everyday, everywhere snack.



           How do you Sloop a Kiwi?       

It’s Simple!  Follow these directions:

Step One:  Take a knife and slice the kiwi in half. 

                                               Step Two:  Offer students a kiwi half and a spoon. 

                                                                                                     Let students scoop out the tender, sweet and juicy
                                                                                                      fruit.  The skin becomes the bowl.


Students will consume this nutritious and fun fresh fruit

with no fuss and no muss. 

Eat the fruit right out of the skin, and then throw away the skin or,

if you’re really, really brave, eat the skin too – it’s loaded with nutrition!


So start Slooping today!





Did you know...

© Did you know kiwifruit has been described as tasting like a combination of melon, citrus fruits, nectarines and strawberries --- all in one?

© Did you know kiwifruit is green on the inside?

© Did you know that you can eat the tiny black seeds on the inside of the fruit?

© Did you know you can eat the fuzzy skin on the outside of the kiwifruit? (Just rinse and rub the skin gently, cut into quarters and eat!)

© Did you know you can speed up the ripening of kiwi by placing it

close to, or in a bag with bananas, apples or pears? (Kiwi is sensitive
to a gas, ethylene, produced by these other fruits. This gas will soften the kiwifruit.)

© Did you know that there are two types of kiwifruit, green and gold?

(The gold was first grown in the 1980’s. It has a golden yellow flesh with tiny black seeds and on the outside it looks the same as green kiwi. It tastes similar to the green variety, but it has a hint of mango flavor.)

© Did you know that kiwi can be used as a natural meat tenderizer? © Did you know there are 400 varieties of kiwifruit in China? © Did you know kiwi is one of the most popular fruits today?

© Did you know it takes almost 2 weeks for kiwi to arrive at U.S. ports from New Zealand?

Remember ...Eat more fruits and vegetables everyday!


Text Box:  	Chickpeas 
Fact Sheet 	 

Where did they come from?

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzos or ceci (pronounce chee-chee) beans, are an ancient crop that has been grown in the Middle East, India and parts of Africa for over 7,000 years. They are small, cream-colored, mild flavored legumes. Chickpeas are popular in many different world cuisines such as Middle Eastern, Indian, Italian, Spanish and Latin America.

Where do they grow?

Chickpeas are grown throughout the Middle East, India, Turkey, Africa and the United States. India produces about 80-90% of the world’s chickpea supply. Most of the chickpeas produced in the United States are grown in California. Eastern Washington State, Idaho and Montana grow this crop also, and recently have increased the amount they are growing since Mexico has cut back their production. Chickpeas are available year round either dried or canned.

How do they grow?

Chickpeas are grown on multiple branched plants with small, feathery leaves and pods containing seeds. These grow between 8 to 40 inches tall. Chickpea plants contain a tap root system, which allows them to withstand drought conditions. They grow best in warmer climates consisting of hot days and warm nights. Chickpeas also require fertile and sandy soil with good drainage to prevent soggy or flooded ground.

Are they healthy?

Have high amounts of protein

(In school lunch these can count as either a vegetable component or protein/meat alternate component.)

Contain complex carbohydrates and fiber Are a good source of vitamin B6, C and zinc

How do you pick a good one?

Purchase cans that are not damaged and meet U.S.D.A. grade standards

Choose dried beans/peas that are uniformly sized and evenly colored Avoid dried chickpeas that are cracked or broken

If buying dried in bulk, check for insect damage (small, pin size holes)




Did you know...

© Did you know chickpeas can be used in salads, soups, dips, and pasta or grain dishes?

© Did you know chickpeas are also called garbanzo or ceci (pronounce chee-chee) beans?

© Did you know chickpeas are considered a vegetable or meat alternate/protein in the school lunch program?

© Did you know that on the food pyramid chickpeas/garbanzo beans are in the meat & beans group and also the vegetable group?

© Did you know chickpeas are used to make hummus; a thick spread used on crackers or bread?

(Vegetarians commonly eat hummus since it is a good source of protein. It is a Middle Eastern dip. Hummus consists of chickpeas that are mashed and combined with lemon juice, oil, crushed sesame seeds and garlic.)

© Did you know chickpeas are used in a popular Middle Eastern dish called falafel?

(To prepare this dish beans are mashed and formed into balls and then deep-fried.)

© Did you know chickpeas can be purchased as dried or canned? © Did you know that chickpeas have a nutlike flavor?

© Did you know chickpeas contain 20% protein, 5% fat and 55% carbohydrate?

© Did you know chickpeas are high in soluble fiber, which may lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels?

Remember ... Eat more fruits and vegetables everyday!