Meet Your Neighbors

Meet your neighbors by getting to know their fruit trees. During September and October of 2007, I canvassed the neighborhood specifically in search of fuyu and hachiya persimmon trees, and I found four hachiya trees and one fuyu tree in a five block radius. Hachiya persimmons are the hill shaped persimmons that reach full ripeness when the skin becomes totally translucent and the flesh becomes soft like applesauce. Fuyu persimmons can be eaten when they are firm like apples, and they will have a crunch.

I rang a doorbell on Boyd St. and a skeptical but ultimately friendly neighbor came to the front door. I told her that I couldn’t help but notice her beautiful hachiya persimmons- which are also my favorite fruit- and I asked her if I could harvest four persimmon. She unequivocally said yes, and informed me that she never harvested the persimmons growing in her front yard. I harvested four and for the rest of the persimmon season, I biked past her house and watched the tree become more leafless by the day, until late October when there wasn’t a single leaf on the tree. This leaflessness was in stark contrast to the weighty fruit hanging from its limbs.

On Lawton St. I mailed a postcard to my neighbor asking to come by and meet the people who lived at the house by Broadway St. with the hachiya persimmon tree in the front yard. I left my phone number and house number, and one day later, I received a brown bag of hachiyas and a voicemail message from a gentle sounding lady telling me that I could stop by later in the season for more persimmons.

The photo at the top is one I took of hachiya and fuyu I harvested in November 2007.


3 responses to “Meet Your Neighbors

  1. First, may I express the genuine intrigue this blog has effected and the glee with which I am contributing its first commentary. I hope this will be the first thread in a robust web of exchange inspired by a wonderful author. Despite the fact that I have certainly partaken in a few fruits of the neighborhood, one thing did not sit right with me after reading the first posting. I worried that not all are made merry by the foraging fad. What about the residents who must defend their own fruit, pressed to compete for the first pickings of their own property? But before I could open my mouth, Asiya was sure to throw me the right flavor. I especially appreciate this month’s post for addressing the how-to of polite foraging. What Asiya suggests is beautifully wholesome, but still has that bad-ass ring I expect from her. That said,I think the politics or ethics of the practice are worth considering. Although I couldn’t endorse the “ask and you shall receive” model (described this month) more strongly, I must confess that I have reservations about the distribution of booklets that map out all of the best spots to hit (described last month). Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have one myself, but please understand my ambivalence in the case of resources that stand on other people’s property. (I will note here that by “people” I mean real, live people not corporations or municipalities. Damn the man.) Not everyone is likely to wait for permission to “forage” (is it even foraging if you have to ask first?) nor to write a note as lovely as I’m sure Asiya’s was. So, what then? Perhaps, folks will still have some sense about taking an appropriate amount, enough so that others can get their share and the plant can stay happy too. But even so, what if Mrs. Hufflepuff was gearing up to make her famous marmalade and she needed all forty pounds of that citrus, or whatever the case may be. I’m sure she’s a very nice lady and if you asked her she probably would let you take a few, but the question remains: how often will foragers meet the neighbors when it is so easy to just pluck from here or there? I would love to learn more about what people think foraging is and what it is not.

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