Who says money doesn't grow on trees? Vietnamese farmers cash in on dried persimmons

By Khanh Huong   January 10, 2017 | 07:16 pm PT
How do farmers in the Central Highlands make their dried persimmons worth the price tag of $20 a kilogram?

Da Lat, located 1,500 meters above sea leave in the Central Highlands, is the country’s production hub for fruit, vegetables and flowers. The city has an area of hundreds hectares dedicated to a very special type of fruit – persimmon. With an annual output of up to thousands of tons, farmers reserve the best persimmons for drying. 


The harvest season lasts from September and February. Farmers used to prefer selling fresh persimmons for a quick profit.


About four years ago, a few farmers in Da Lat had some hands-on training from Japanese experts on how to slow-dry the fruit. 


Dried persimmons are not new to Vietnamese farmers but the magic of the Japanese technique adds to the appeal. Fresh persimmons are peeled and suspended by string to dry in a sunny and airy place. 


Before farmers hang their persimmons up to dry, they dry them in oven at 50-60 degrees Celsius.  


Crucially, the drying persimmons are not allowed to touch each other, and they must be hung up to dry in a spot that gets some sun and wind.


Air drying can take up to three weeks, depending on the temperature and humidity. 


Dang Thu Van said when the temperature ranges from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius and humidity is about 50 percent, it is ideal for drying.


It takes 7-8 kilograms of fresh persimmons to produce 1 kilogram of dried persimmon. Considering all the efforts that go into the dried fruit, farmers charge a wholesale price of VND450,000 ($20) per kilogram. 


They’re perfect for tea and make a very special gift for persimmon lovers. 

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