A colorful crop from the Golden State

“A full-grown persimmon tree can really produce,” says Cliff Sadoian, a third-generation farmer in Dinuba. “We can get 1,500 to 2,000 flats per acre.” That translates into a lot of persimmons, given his 30-acre orchard.

Sadoian and his family primarily grow the Hachiya persimmon, one of the two chief market varieties. Hachiyas thrive in hot inland parts of the West, such as here in California’s Central Valley. They also do well in milder coastal zones. Marked by their pointed tips, hachiyas are picked after they’ve turned bright orange but while they’re still firm. Before being eaten they must be allowed to ripen further to lose their puckery astringency and become as soft and sweet as jelly.

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Sadoian also tends a handful of Fuyu persimmon trees, the other main market variety. Flat-bottomed Fuyus can be eaten while they’re as crisp as apples or after they’ve softened a bit. Both varieties ripen slowly at room temperature, which makes them perfect for piling in a huge bowl on your kitchen table ― a bright reflection of the season.

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