After this intense week of rain if you are looking forward to spending some time outdoors this weekend you can join the Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project in one of several persimmon harvests this fall, or take the Agricultural History of Downtown Santa Cruz tour! The Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project is headed by Steve Schnaar and run with a very small group of volunteers. They work with the community to harvest excess fruit around Santa Cruz County from residential yards and public spaces, saving residents the hassle of cleaning up rotting fruit while providing free food to the community.
Throughout the year they coordinate events such as apple harvesting and cider pressing, olive harvesting and curing, persimmon picking and drying, even a history lesson with The Agricultural History of Downtown Santa Cruz tour led by Blaize Wilkinsen. Recently they hosted a persimmon harvest with an instructional on how to dry Hachiya persimmons using a traditional japanese method where you pick them “green around the shoulders”, peel them, quarter them, and string them up to dry in a well ventilated area of your home. After a couple of months the leathery fruit has lost it’s astringency and transformed into a delicious ornament!
- harvest Hachiya Persimmons early. They should be mostly orange, green along the top, and still very very hard
- peel and quarter them (in this climate it is important to quarter them because of the dampness)
- take two quarters and thread them on opposite ends of a string long enough that the pieces won’t touch when hung draped over a line
- run a line along your ceiling with a rough twine (to prevent slipping) in a well ventilated area of your home
- hang the pieces along the line with enough space that no piece is touching
- if the weather is particularly damp keep a fan on them for the first day
- check them daily, remove any pieces that show signs of mold, they should be ready to eat within a month
SANTA CRUZ FRUIT TREE PROJECT UPCOMING EVENTS
Sunday December 9th, 2-3:45 Agricultural History of Downtown Santa Cruz
Meet at the top of the Cliff St stairs (connecting Cliff St to Laurel St Extension)
Sunday December 9th, 3pm Persimmon Harvest
Meet in front of Branciforte Middle School
You can join their mailing list to learn about more community events by clicking here and following the “Join this group” link on the right hand side.
You can help support the Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project by donating time or money here.
You can offer your excess fruit here.