© Joel Goodman - 07973 332324 . 24 August 2013 . Manchester , UK . Alain with the freshly picked kiwifruit harvest, in the busy A6 road in front of the library where he grew the vine.
The stunning summer has brought an astonishing crop of exotic kiwifruit for one gardener - beside a busy main road in Manchester.
Green-fingered Alain Kahan grew the exotic "Actinidia deliciosa" - or "Fuzzy Kiwifruit" - vine from scratch after buying a punnet of the fruit from a Manchester Asda in 1989 and cultivating the plant in the small garden of the library where he worked.
"I blended the pulp with water and allowed the seeds to separate before planting them out" says Alain.
Alain has since retired but, despite having only a small patch of land in which to grow and no greenhouse for protection, the vine has thrived and this year's long, hot summer has delivered a stunning haul of supermarket-sized kiwis, more typically found growing in the warmer climbs of Italy and New Zealand.
The fruit grows well in areas where there are no frosts to damage the flesh. According to Alain, the long, warm spell was just what was needed. "Last year's early frost turned the fruit to mush but the long summer meant I could wait that bit longer - this year's been perfect for them".
Retired Librarian Alain was so surprised at the size of the crop, that he's kept the vine's location a closely-guarded secret. Fortunately fears that the furry fruit would be stolen from the roadside before they ripened have proved unfounded and Alain's now harvesting bowlfuls of the fruit, which he says he'll share with colleagues and friends at the library in Salford, where he still helps out two days a week.
"They have a better taste than the ones from the Supermarket" insists the sixty-five year old amateur gardener, "it must be something in the Salford soil".
The home of the kiwifruit can be traced to southern China, only arriving in New Zealand at the turn of the twentieth century, where the frost-free climate