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

By Khanh Huong   January 11, 2017 | 10:16 am GMT+7

How do farmers in the Central Highlands make their dried persimmons worth the price tag of $20 a kilogram?

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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. 

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

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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. 

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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. 

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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. 

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

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