Volumes of imported persimmons from Spain have increased this year.
“At the moment the supply is good. There is a good volume this year,” says Nadia Borsellino of Montreal, Canada-based Krops Imports. “The supply is far better this year than last. Last year the crop was hit with freezing and hail and the quality and quantity were greatly affected by severe weather.”
Borsellino notes that this year’s fruit, grown in the Ribera del Xúquer Valley near Valencia, Spain, is a little smaller than expected for this season of Rojos Brillante. The Rojos is one of several varieties Krops Imports brings in, including Sharon fruit from Spain and Sharon fruit from South Africa and Brazil. “We are developing a kaki program that would have us import different kaki varieties year round,” adds Borsellino.
Importing the fruit of course can bring its share of hurdles. “The biggest challenge for us as importers is handling the fruit and gauging the temperature,” says Borsellino. She also notes that at the consumer level, the look of the fruit is another challenge. “Sometimes the fruit will have brown speckles on the skin, which are natural sugar freckles that indicate they are extra sweet,” she says. “Often consumers will think the brown spots are scarring or signs that the fruit is not the best quality.”
Borsellino also adds that in stores, consumers can often be confused around the Rojos Brillante and Hachiya varieties. “The Hachiya and Rojos Brillante persimmons look very similar,” she says. “However, the Hachiya is astringent and cannot be consumed while firm. The Rojos Brillante can be eaten right away or eaten when soft and gelatinous.”
That said, demand continues to grow for the fruit. “Over the last few years, we’ve worked to bring the variety into stores and to promote the fruit,” says Borsellino, noting Krops sells in gift boxes and consumer packs/boxes with six to eight Rojos Brillante per box. “Because of our passion, the fruit, which was unknown a short while ago, has become more and more known over the years. We anticipate continual growth for the fruit.”
As for pricing, last year’s weather did influence pricing. “It affected the price, quality and quantity of fruit available, which directly impacted the price. The price last year was therefore higher than this year,” she says. However she adds that this year’s pricing is better despite a slower start due to warm weather right before picking.”
Looking ahead, the month of December is when the Rojos Brillante is at its peak, which makes it a great holiday fruit, says Borsellino.