July 4th, 2007
Tomato ‘Persimmon’

tomato persimmon
The first ‘Persimmon’ tomato we harvested tipped the scale at 1 pound 3 ounces.

Hands down ‘Persimmon’ is the best tomato I’ve ever eaten. And I will absolutely grow it again. However, it is the most challenging tomato I’ve ever grown. So far, we’ve gotten two tomatoes, each tipping the scales at over a pound.

Unfortunately, we’ve mostly gotten misshapen tomatoes that develop rot.

tomato persimmon

Twining Vine Garden says that ‘Persimmon’ requires “heavily fertile evenly moist well draining soil”.

I agree that it’s a heavy feeder. Although ‘Persimmon’ was planted in a newly dug bed filled with compost, it produced a giant deep-green vine (over 6 feet tall) with no flowers until I gave it some tomato food. It wasn’t that I’d filled the bed with high-nitrogen fertilizer or anything, just sifted compost from my pile out back. The other plants in the same bed flowered just fine.

The same site says that without calcium it will develop blossom-end rot. It did…not just at the blossom end but along the ridges and cracks.

Thomas Jefferson is said to have grown ‘Persimmon’. I’m amazed that it’s been around so long. The flavor and texture takes the tomato to a new level. It seems like some mysterious cross of tomato and mango (or perhaps persimmon)…almost something dreamed up in a laboratory. In short, ‘Persimmon’ is almost too good to be true.

Am I the only person who has trouble growing it?

by M Sinclair Stevens

11 Responses to post “Tomato ‘Persimmon’”

  1. From Carol (Indiana):

    I’ve never tried to grow ‘Persimmon’ tomatoes. It sounds like a challenge though, and maybe something to consider for next season. I’d have to put it in its own raised bed away from the other tomatoes to give it special attention.

  2. From Steve Mudge (Fort Worth):

    Our tomatoes in Fort Worth are getting some of that rot too. It doesn’t really look like the calcium deficiency pictures I’ve seen in Ag books. I’m inclining to blame it on the rain and humidity–our tomatoes are cracking as they ripen as well which I think has to do with too much or too little water. Been great for foliar growth though–our Marianna’s Peace is now at eight feet tall with now signs of slowing down. Got to try that Persimmon next year–looks yummy.

    I thought the rain was keeping the garden more evenly wet than in other years but apparently not. Extra water in dry years and umbrellas in wet years? — mss

  3. From Ki (New Jersey):

    I read that cracks in tomatoes are the result of uneven watering. I watered the tomatoes almost daily one year and I did notice almost no cracking until I forgot to water and the ground dried out. When it rained the fruit cracked.

    I’ll have to try ‘Persimmon” next year. So far the best tasting tomatoes I’ve grown are either the Dona or Carmello. One was better than the other but I can’t remember which. But these were grown in a township community pea patch garden. When I grew them in our current garden the flavors were disappointing. I also bought some ‘Brandywine’ tomatoes at the local farmers market and thought the taste was very good. I planted some in our garden and was again disappointed. Maybe the constitution of the soil is an important component of taste?

    I’ve grown ‘Carmello’ with some success. It is one of my favorite tomatoes. I favor a tart and tangy tomato. If you like ‘Carmello’ you will probably like ‘Persimmon’. — mss

  4. From Dawn (Austin):

    One pound tomatoes? Wow! Sounds like they are difficult, but worth the effort. Maybe someday I’ll grow veggies again. Now that’s a delicious hobby.



  5. From Pam (South Carolina):

    Is ‘Persimmon’ the gorgeous yellow tomato in the post prior to this one. If so – wow. That is simply gorgeous. I have not tried that one, but if with all of the difficulties, that photo along makes it more than tempting. I have ‘Brandywine’ going this year, and have had more luck with it than ever in the past – lots of tomatoes (in the post I have only gathered a few tomatoes, literally, before the plant started to decline). Oh – and I’m sure that soil composition/quality influences taste.

    Yes, the orange tomato in the previous post is the same ‘Persimmon’ after we cut it open. Interesting theory about soil composition. The two plants are growing next to each other in a brand new plot that was all prepared at the same time. — mss

  6. From Bob:

    It looks a lot like Giant Rainbow, another excellent heirloom. My favorite tasting tomato is one I grow from seeds given to me by an old timer down the road.He says it`s been in his family since the 1850`s. his last name is Lacy so I just call it the Lacy tomato.The biggest I`ve grown is 2 Lbs. 7 Oz. I`m sure it was good but I carried it around bragging about it till it rotted. Seeing as how yours is my favorite blog if you email me with your address I would be more than happy to send you some seeds. It does`t make a very good fall tomato though. But they are abeauty though. Very creased,with a navel on the bottom,they turn pink before red. I know you would love it. For your rot problem, try powdered milk sprinkled around the plant and watered in for now. when you plant you can put a crushed calcium tablet in the hole before you plant.

    Thanks for your advice and your offer, Bob. I will get in touch with you when I’m back in Austin. Right now I’m in rainy England…although reports from home are that it is oddly rainy and cool in Austin, too. — mss

  7. From Mike in Cloverdale near Redding:

    I have the persimmon seeds and will try them I am in a Mediterranean climate and it will be very hot. I will use the calcium, I had read it will help with blossom end rot and have ground egg shells, which is supposed to be one of the best amendments for that. If you need these seeds I have a supplier.

  8. From Joyce in Kelseyville at Clear Lake:

    We found 1 Persimmon tomato plant among the palette of Purple Cherokees and Old Germans we had ordered, so I am doing my research to find out what this tomato is about! Very useful info. Thank you for posting this!

  9. From rigo grajeda:

    i just bought a persimmon toamto at vons.
    bought it for the seeds.
    i will let you know how it goes over the winter.
    im gonna grow it in my green house.
    i hope i can get a 1 lb tomato.

  10. From Bev:

    I grew Persimmon last summer and found it to be a great tasting tomato; very meaty. The vines we still bearing after many others had become diseased. I will be growing this one again.

  11. From Dianne Indiana:

    I picked my first persimmon tomato today, and I can’t wait to taste it! It weighs in at 1 lb. 11 oz.! My plant markers disappeared and I thought I had a pair of mortgage lifters on the vine until they developed the distinctive persimmon color. I read that the plants were heavy feeders, and I’ll admit I didn’t take very good care of them this year, other than watering…so I’m thrilled that I even get to taste this elusive beauty!