The average year combined with a smaller crop from Italian producers is driving strong demand for the fruit, and higher prices for growers.
The season started well for the California producers too, as the New Zealand and Chilean supplies were mostly off the store shelves in time for the local product. "We just didn't have much in the way of competition," said Nick Matteis with the California Kiwifruit Commission in Sacramento.
California grows 98 percent of the U.S. crop, and provides the majority of kiwifruit for retail outlets west of the Rockies this time of year.
Matteis says to look for Chilean fruit to make its return in the grocery stores, sometime in mid-to-late March.