Note: I wanted to publish this in November, but alas, there was no time. It’s an older post but I just love it because that memory of being at the Ferry Building with all that fruit is still vivid in my mind, even years later. So please, enjoy!
Ah, it’s November. And sadly, I’m in Hawaii. Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful for the blue skies, the tradewinds and the daily sunshine. But nothing says autumn to me like the morning fog rolling in over San Francisco Bay and lovely, orange persimmons!
November makes me nostalgic for my first trip to the Ferry Building’s Saturday Farmer’s Market. That year, San Francisco was experiencing a record heat wave for November and the days were a balmy 75 degrees and sunny. The skies were so clear and blue, it made me wonder, “Where am I?”
Yes, everyone gets all worked up about summer and its berries and ripe sensual fruits, but frankly, I prefer fall. When I wandered around the stalls of fruits and vegetables, it was a wonder for my eyes: eggplants as large as boxing gloves, dark green kale with coy ruffled leaves, deep red bell peppers, plums, grapes, apples of all kinds and of course, persimmons.
I was never a persimmon lover in Hawaii. Unless you’re willing to spend $5.00 a pound for the Hashimoto one grown on Maui, the stuff we get is mediocre at best. But in San Francisco, I couldn’t get enough of it. I think in the two days that I was there, I must have eaten at least six or seven persimmons total.
For those new to the fruit, there are two kinds of persimmons: Fuyu and Hachiya. A Hachiya looks more like a heart and you have to wait for it to be soft and really ripe in order to eat it. If you don’t wait, you will be sorry and left with a mouth that looks like an old man’s without his teeth. A Fuyu is more like a mini pumpkin. It’s crunchy and firm and its sweet flesh looks like and sometimes, in my mind, tastes like there’s cinnamon sprinkled all over it.
But don’t think the Hachiya is useless. Not at all. My late uncle used to dry them. The result is what looks like a large date heavily dusted with powdered sugar. At first, I thought that my uncle must have added something. Even a date doesn’t excrete this much sugar, right? But it was all the persimmon. I kid you not.
For our family, the dried Hachiyas are like gold. The process of drying them is ridiculously labor intensive. You don’t just leave it out and let the sun do its trick. No, you have to massage the fruit every day. I haven’t had a massage myself recently so what makes you think I would want to give a massage to my fruit? So when we received those dried persimmons, I definitely felt loved knowing how much work went into it. Now that he’s gone, I feel like something is missing come fall.
So all you people who live near the Ferry Building in San Francisco, eat a Fuyu persimmon for me or two or three because autumn has definitely arrived.