Commercial potential for American persimmons?

I’m interested in exploring a tangent that came up in the above thread and thought it was worth a topic of its own, namely what potential there is for making a commercial crop of American persimmons.

@Barkslip if I remember correctly, I think you’ve said that Red Fern Farms sells persimmons. I’d be interested in hearing about any places that anyone knows are selling persimmons and how much volume they seem to be selling and how they seem to manage the logistics.

I know of some vendors at local farmers markets that sell wild persimmons in clam shells and others that sell frozen persimmon pulp, but the market for that seems to be very limited, at least in the small cities where these vendors are selling, but on the other hand these vendors don’t have many persimmons to sell either since they’re just collecting from a few random, wild trees.

What about Cliff England? Does he sell American persimmons to speak of? What about Jerry Lehman (before he died)? What kind of market had he developed, if any?

Let’s talk about any examples anyone knows of, as well as hypothetical potential we see and the logistical and marketing challenges and how they might be dealt with.


I believe Red fern farm sells theirs you pick ?

Jerry told me he had sold 1000 lbs of pulp ( frozen ,I think ?) the year before his passing. ( I think for brewing ? )
A orchard owner in Ohio said he made more $ from a single early golden tree , than any other single tree in his orchard. ( at local farmers markets )Though more in total from Apple sales.

Picking into egg crates would be the way to go for local sales.
Or frozen pulp?

Good topic


Jerry sold pulp. He had a gigantic walk in freezer and he had folks he payed by the hour to pick them up off of the ground or from his trees.

Red Fern Farm is strictly u-pick.

Jerry said there was a big market for pulp. I can’t point you in any direction though. That’s a question for some group such as NAFEX. And, ask Cliff. Cliff will know. He and Jerry were buddies and they bred persimmons together as a matter of fact.


Early golden is a great American persimmon! Love them.


While I dream of selling American persimmons…
Really I think it’s best…
That most people had their Own trees.
In “the yard”
Some are so fragile when perfectly tree ripe.
Lucky to survive from hand …to mouth intact .!
And no better place to eat them than under the tree.
Or the row of trees. .


Ultimately, the question is not about the commercial potential, but how to commercialize the american persimmon. This means developing a market which infers that commercial production is viable. IMO, there is a problem that there are not enough persimmon trees in the ground to support commercial development.

Here is a list of potential products:Pulp for brewing, pulp for ice cream, pulp for popsicles, fresh fruit, fruit leather, jellies/jams/marmalade.

So let me ask, what do you intend to do with the resulting fruit?


Muscadine is good example of this. We all know they taste good. General public is reluctant to buy something unfamiliar though. Especially with seeds that have to be spit. That is the draw back that has kept muscadine from growing in popularity and I think would be the same problem here.


True, but compared to native persimmons a lot of muscadines are already being sold. Even if they’re relatively uncommon compared to other fruits, I know of multiple stores just in my immediate area that at least occasionally sell fresh muscadines. There are small farmers that come to farmers markets with nothing but muscadines. There are plenty of you-pick operations. There are people selling juice. And then there muscadines being grown for wineries, some (like Duplin) that I’d guess are supplying hundreds of supermarkets. I would consider it very significant progress for American persimmons if they achieved just a fraction of the modest commercial success of muscadines.

You seem to be envisioning something different than I do when I say commercial potential. I’m envisioning almost entirely direct-market sales, which being necessarily small-scale would largely preclude most of the specialized uses you mentioned (apart from individual customers making those things for themselves.) I think before a fruit is going to become popular for processed food (unless it lends itself extraordinarily well to processed uses or unless it can be produced at an exceptionally low price point) it is first going to have to find commercial success in much simpler forms (fresh fruit and maybe fresh/frozen pulp.)

I suspect that if persimmon breeders had had somewhat different priorities that there might be more varieties with better traits for marketing (e.g. less likely to bust when they hit the ground and maybe slightly better shelf life.) Of course, the best variety for selling fresh probably won’t be the best variety for eating fresh from your own tree, but I feel like there’s some potential for selling fresh fruit, especially if breeding efforts were to support that goal. Like I already said , there are already some vendors selling wild persimmons at small farmers markets, at least a couple at my own small city farmers market, so breeding can only improve on that potential if the breeding goals are aligned.

I agree, but that’s true of all species of fruit, isn’t it?


There is a large hardy kiwi farm in PA that is basically responsible for raising awareness about the hardy kiwi. And now you see their brand in costco and others. I grew up hour or two from you. Muscadines are a culture throught the southeast. Once you leave, people don’t even know what they are. Last year I seen them in stores here too though. Until a grower is able to show a couple major food distributors that the improved american persimmon has value. They will remain in the shadows. For me I was just looking to sell a couple at the farmers market, but I’m doubting that now.

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There is this:

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[quote=“cousinfloyd, post:8, topic:26846”]
("I agree, but that’s true of all species of fruit, isn’t it? ")
Well, yah. But likely more so for something that does not ship well. People likely thought the same of blackberry / raspberry
Years ago, now they are widely traded

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Around here the farmers markets look more like food truck conventions. And there are the garage sale booths. As well as several local businesses advertising. One I went too only had two booths selling fruits or vegetables and one of those drove over 100 miles to get there. Not at all what I expected when I went to look for possible prospects to sell at. Maybe that’s a good thing with less competition?
Just wondering how much of that crowd is willing to experiment with something new. Maybe a little persimmon pie after their bbq sandwich.

Yah. Not much competition .so that could be good.

("Maybe a little persimmon pie after their bbq sandwich. ")

Yah, I would get in line !

Unless there was a booth next to it…?
With …?
Persimmon pie, … Locally sourced . Persimmons ,acorn crust ,chia, , fig, black berry juice ,citrus juice, Saskatoon ,elderberry ,may be apples .? ., ginger, turmeric , hazel - walnut - sesame - sprinkles , imported sea salt , other really good stuff, and …love, .".! …,.lots .of love in it !

I may get in that line instead ? ,! :heart:


I think if you could get the american persimmon to ripen more like the asian astringents they would be more marketable. That’s really what turned me off about selling them at the farmers market. The uneven ripening and when ripe you have to get rid of them immediately whereas the asians you can hold onto. (also, not counting the unfamiliarity and seed features).

Jerry Lehman told me, years ago, that year-in/year-out, at his orchard and at IN NGA taste-tests at the Jim Claypool orchard, Early Golden was invariably chosen as the best-flavored persimmon.
Is that still the case, with all the newer selections that have been made from breedings made by Jerry, Don Compton, David LaVergne, Cliff England, etc. - and made available in the last few years? IDK.


Right, Lucky.

I know Don Compton has bred American for commercial value. He’s given Cliff wood to grow it but never to disseminate it. They’re are a couple of them and they have a really different name and numbered designation. He calls them: DEC WANNABEE

There’s at least a DEC WANNABEE 1 & a DEC WANNABEE 2. From that I don’t know anything else. Obviously and however, they’re able to stay firm… or, at least that’s how I visualize, their-use.



I came into some DEC wannabe wood last season, along with several other Compton selections. I don’t think I wound up grafting wannabe, for whatever reason, but did do several others. Probably the old Romeo and Juliette thing of ‘what’s in a name…’ Wish id known more about any of them. DEC ‘Goliath’ was pretty self explanatory. I think I also wound up with ‘Money Maker’ and ‘King Crimson’. Happy to know more from anyone growing these.

In terms of the earlier discussion about ripening and marketability, I have some positive experiences to share. Namely, deer and raccoons did quite a number on my trees last season (that’s the bad news) and would rip entire limbs off in the process of getting at the fruit. I found that if I gathered the limbs, the unripe fruit would ripen nicely, very much like an Asian. These were all ‘Prok’, and I actually took to harvesting whole limbs just to get ahead of the critters. They may have been a little lower quality that fully tree ripened fruit, but not substantially. I suspect having some wood attached promotes further ripening somewhat, similarly to tomatoes, Wondering if anyone has similarl experiences. I’ve not tried it with my other varieties as I didn’t have the same critter issues on those trees.

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Can anyone comment on what are the characteristics of Wannabee 1, 2, and 3?

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I’ve picked plenty from trees early and let them ripen on the counter. The difference I’ve noticed is the later they are picked the more juicy they ripen too.

I’m interested in the marketability myself. The problem that I see is the average person has no knowledge of the bletting process. Get one not done yet and it leaves a memorable experience. The frozen paste seems like the most logical option, but is it worth the work?

@AFFN Welcome to the Club!

Wish I could answer your question, I have all three grafted but no fruit yet.
I did them no favors grafting on an understory tree.
I read somewhere Don thought # lll was the pick of the litter.
Here is a pic of the # lll graft. If you see any fruit it’s from tree above that’s keeping it from its full potential.

Maybe next year

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