Nearly every kid growing up in the South has at some point been offered a common persimmon, a small orange fruit that looks like it would be tasty but is in fact so astringent it will turn your mouth inside out. So when Amanda and I heard that people were growing persimmons in the South, we smiled ruefully and said no thank you.
Fortunately, we eventually had the chance to taste an Asian persimmon (the rest of the world knows it as “kaki”) and learned that it’s a totally different experience. Mild, slightly sweet and slightly tangy, seedless, and a beautiful shade of orange, Asian persimmons have now established themselves as our favorite fruit. In the South, they grow best when grafted on to root stock of the common persimmon (yes, the one we experienced as children). They bring up the rear in the long fruit season we have designed, coming to peak ripeness about the middle of October. We have not yet offered a slice of Asian persimmon to anyone who has not liked it immediately.