Persimmon industry gains momentum in Australia

Feb. 12, 2023 | 5 Min read
The Australian Persimmon industry is kicking off the start of the 2023 season.

The Australian Persimmon industry is kicking off the start of the 2023 season.

Persimmons Australia executive officer Dr Alison Fuss said the start of autumn in March marks the launch of the Australian persimmon season as these delicious and juicy fruits arrive on the shelves of supermarkets and all good grocers.

“Like so many other fruit crops across the country, the 2023 Australian persimmon season is running about 2–3 weeks later than usual, giving the fruit time to grow and develop their distinctive flavours and pleasant aroma.”

Persimmons are produced in all mainland states of Australia, with the first fruit for the season coming out of Queensland usually in late February/early March. Production then extends through to June with supply coming from the southern states and from Western Australia.

In 2022 persimmon production volumes hit a record 3465 tonnes, valued at $17.3M.

“That said, the 2022 season was a tough one for producers in South East Queensland and the Sydney Basin, with heavy rains and cloudy days impacting on fruit development and quality, and some orchards experiencing flooding or having it impact on getting product to market,” Dr Fuss said.

“Other production regions faired considerably better and the increase in product volume is likely to be due to younger plantings in southern Australia coming into production.”

Persimmons Australia’s president Chris Stillard is one such grower from southern Australia who has been increasing his plantings at Barooga NSW in recent years, seeing potential for persimmons both on the domestic and export markets.

“Persimmons have always been popular amongst Asian communities who have grown up with the fruit and are more familiar with eating it, but now we are seeing increased demand for our fruit from a broader consumer base, and this offers promising growth prospects for our industry,” he said.

The vast majority of Australian persimmon crop is channelled through the wholesale markets, with Sydney being the main market, ahead of Brisbane and Melbourne, with smaller volumes going into Adelaide and Perth.

The annual persimmon marketing campaign, funded by Hort Innovation using the Persimmon levy, has been driving demand for sweet persimmons on the domestic market. The focus has been on building awareness of persimmons to give Australian consumers the confidence to try the product. This has been backed by campaigns around how to select, use and store persimmons.

“Persimmons tend to be highly sought after by consumers who love fresh and healthy food and the sweet, honey-like flavour of this impressively bright orange fruit,” Mr Stillard said.

“Australian sweet persimmons are best eaten crisp and crunchy as a snack but are equally versatile as an ingredient in a variety of dishes, from sweet to savory, making it a popular choice for both home cooks and professional chefs. Persimmons are a healthy choice being high in antioxidants, packed with Vitamin C and beta carotene and having high levels of dietary fibre.

“As a grower, one of the challenges is to present the fruit to market in tip top condition. In spite of the fruit being firm when we pick it, the skin is very sensitive to marking and therefore needs to be handled with care during picking and packing,” Mr Stillard said.

Persimmons Australia is the delivery partner for Persimmon Industry Communications and Extension Program, funded by Hort Innovation using the Persimmon levy and with contributions from the Australian Government.

As part of the program to deliver the much-needed tools to raise the industry’s knowledge, awareness, skills, and aspirations (KASA) around industry issues and foster rapid uptake of successful R&D outcomes, Persimmons Australia is planning to hold its first National Conference and Field Day event since 2019.

Mr Stillard said with the strong interest in the crop from fruit growers along the Murray River, Persimmons Australia is taking this year’s Australian Persimmon Industry Conference and Field Day event to Mildura in Victoria.

“The three-day program will be held from 20–22 June 2023 and will deliver an update on the current recommendations for persimmon production and marketing. Other industry stakeholders and supply chain partners, including marketers and product suppliers, are encouraged to attend.”

Mr Stillard is confident that with the two full-day field tours, taking in visits to persimmon orchards and packhouses, as well as the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Dareton Research Station – home of Dr Tahir Khurshid’s persimmon variety collection – and a range of other horticultural enterprises, there will be something of interest to those considering or new to growing persimmons, as well as established growers.

For more information and to express your interest in attending the 2023 Australian Persimmon Industry Conference and Field Day in Mildura, contact Persimmons Australia by email, Get in quick to take advantage of early bird registration rates.

Categories Specialty tree crops