Bury your face in a Fuyū

Roger Rabbits
with Jim Bunny

“Persimmon and cherries, say the bells of St Mary’s.”

Originally a popular nursery rhyme abut London churches.

But we’ve tinkered with it for convenience, and to point to two outrageous acts of environmental vandalism.

Sort of.

One a myth, the other quite true and right here in our own backyard.

Let us first deal with the cherries St Mary.

George W was just 6 when he was gifted a hatchet.

Yeah … a 6-year-old with an axe.


Then to show his gratitude George W went and chopped down his old man’s cherry tree.


If George Washington jnr had been in modern-day New Zealand, he would have gone through restorative justice and got sentence concessions for an early guilty plea. Remember George’s immortal line, “I cannot tell a lie ….” Then he would have got “home D” — at the family’s antebellum mansion in Virginia.

And there would have been Letters to the Editor — bus ticket, wet, slap!

I made that bit up.

Anyhow, Dad reckons George’s honesty was worth a thousand trees.

And the axe-wielding hooligan goes on to be a founding father and the first president of the US.



Before we segue to persimmons, we now know the cherry tree story is bollocks.

And how it came about is more interesting than the myth itself.

It was contrived by a nomadic evangelist called Mason Weems peddling something called “great virtues” in the fifth edition of his bestseller, The Life of Washington.

He just made it up to sell his book.

Now ... enter stage left, our own modern-day incarnation of George W.

And the tree is a persimmon — was a persimmon.

“Of course I chopped the bloody thing down.

I hate persimmons.”

The backyard tree wasn’t a protected specimen.

But nothing is protected when an environmental terrorist is loose with an axe.

And in this case there’s no regret.

“It’s the only tree I have chopped down and never had a qualm about it.

“Persimmons are disgusting things!”

She had “God’s food”, growing in her backyard and she chopped the tree down.


Apparently the persimmon tree would fruit at this time of year, the persimmons would ripen, fall and then rot on the ground.

None was eaten.

“Slimy, horrible, stinking things.”

But no one was encouraged to eat them.

Because the terrorist was standing beneath the tree, axe raised, nostrils flared, eyebrows scrunched, lips tightened and muttering expletives that would make a wharfie blush.


Why do persimmons get such a bad rap?

Those stunning, vivid red-orange baubles of deliciousness just plead with me: “Pick me, eat me!”

New Zealand produces 2600 tonnes of persimmon each season and half go offshore.

David Seymour should be slicing them and popping them in the nation’s school lunchboxes. But I bet dollars to digestives persimmons would be “woke” tucker.

I thought I’d test the market from the comfort of my workstation.

What do people think of persimmons?

I got this rousing endorsement.

“I find I can live my life without persimmons.”

The persimmon marketers have work to do.

Then “mushy and weird”.

And this sniffy, curled-lip response.

“What do I think? I don’t think. They’re forgettable.”


Apart from being a visual and delectable feast, they’re a good source of vitamins A and C as well as manganese, which helps the blood to clot.

If you find yourself unexpectedly bleeding out somewhere and no tourniquets handy, you might regret not eating more persimmons.

They’re also chocka with antioxidants, so what’s not to like? Am I alone here?

I am not. Because somewhere in the US of A there’s a dog sitting under a persimmon tree.

He stares up willing one to fall.

When it does, he scoffs it.

He hankers for half-rotten, half-bird-eaten persimmons. Dog and I are almost at one.

Forget all that blather about astringency and tannins because we have a newfangled “fuyū” for you.

Hard to type let alone say.


Fuyus should be eaten when firm and crisp, just a “blush of ripeness” on the brink of softening, and eaten like an apple — skin included.

As a foodie eloquently put it: “… the texture of a firm heirloom tomato and a funky, heady, semi-sweet taste as though infused with a tiny drop of honey”.

Once upon a time I’d drive by a persimmon tree in Auckland’s Williamson Ave.

And we’d stop and gaze upon one of nature’s novelties — a Christmas tree that comes already decorated.

A shade tree during summer, and when the seasons changed it rewarded with those luscious orange-red fruit.

It got us all hooked.

Now I’m off to sharpen up the axe to go deal to a few feijoa trees — while we are talking of truly disgusting things.