Forbidden Fruit? Hardy Kiwi Could Be Banned in Bay State

Critics say hardy kiwi is taking over some state forests and parks

It may be on your shopping list, but the hardy kiwi could soon be on the prohibited plant list in Massachusetts due to concerns that the crop is invasive.

The fruit fight is pitting farmers who grow it against some environmentalist who want to get rid of it. Critics say the hardy kiwi, which is skinless and known for its nutrients, is taking over some state forests and parks.

It has cost some in the Berkshires thousands of dollars to remove, but farmers say it can add thousands of dollars to their bottom line.

Some farmers brought their concerns to the Department of Agricultural Resources on Tuesday at a hearing on prohibited plants.

“We’re going to have to spend lots of money to remove the kiwi,” Jane Winn of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team said. “I think that nature shouldn’t have to pay the price for what humans want.”

“This is an agricultural crop,” Timothy Smith of Apex Orchard in Shelburne, Massachusetts said. “Where do we go from here? What is the next agricultural crop that’s going to be picked out as an invasive species?”

The ban has been recommended by the Invasive Plant Advisory Group, but it is up to the state to make the decision. There is no timeline for when the fruit’s fate will be determined.

If they go through with it, Massachusetts would be the first state to have a ban on hardy kiwi.

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