It Could Soon Be Illegal to Grow Hardy Kiwis in Massachusetts

State agriculture officials are mulling a ban on the green fruit.

Photo via iStock/waldenstroem

Photo via iStock/waldenstroem

Welcome to Massachusetts in 2017, where it may soon be legal to grow pot, but illegal to grow kiwis.

The hardy kiwi, a relative of the more popular, fuzzy variety, is a point of contention between environmentalists who claim the invasive yet exceedingly nutritious fruit is taking over state parks and forests, and farmers who see it as potential cash crop impervious to the slings and arrows of the harshest New England winters.

One Mass. Audubon official called the hardy kiwi “the most threatening invasive plant species we’ve seen in decades,” while Timothy Smith of Apex Orchard in Shelburne, Massachusetts sees a slippery slope ahead.

“Where do we go from here? What is the next agricultural crop that’s going to be picked out as an invasive species?” Smith said at Tuesday’s meeting of the state Department of Agricultural Resources.

If the hardy kiwi’s critics succeed, Massachusetts would be the first state in the country with a ban on its sale and importation.