TOTTORI, Dec. 5 — Koge Hanagoshogaki persimmons are being harvested in the town of Yazu, Tottori Prefecture.
The persimmons, a local specialty, are a variety that is ripened on trees until after the onset of frost to remove the astringency.
During harvest time between late November and mid-December, trees are stripped of leaves and left only with the fruit, turning orchards bright orange.
Koge Hanagoshogaki is fine-textured and juicy, with sugar content of 18 to 20 degrees Brix.
According to JA Tottori Inaba, a local agricultural cooperative, 87 farms in the area are cultivating the fruit on a total of some 12 hectares of land. They plan to ship roughly 100 tons this year, to be marketed mainly as gifts.
Hideo Hosoda, 77, who grows persimmons on a 56-are land, said, “We have been blessed with good weather. The fruit grew well in size and we are expecting a good harvest this year.”
Cultivation of Koge Hanagoshogaki is said to have begun around 240 years ago after a farmer in the Hana district of the town of Koge at the time brought back a twig of Goshogaki from Nara Prefecture during a pilgrimage to the Ise Grand Shrine and grafted it onto a variety of astringent persimmon.
The well-draining soil of the area was suited to cultivation of persimmons and the growing of the fruit spread since then to achieve the quality of winning the first prize in a national-level fruit fair.
In 1969, growers established the Koge Hanagoshogaki brand. Persimmons are selected at the local agricultural cooperative and those that cleared the criteria including the color and size are marketed under the brand name.
The criteria are so strict that only half of the total amount shipped meet them, and the brand has been given high marks by consumers.
The brand, which was registered under the geographical indication (GI) protection system in 2018, is sold at around 2,000 yen each at stores dedicated to fruits in Tokyo.
Motoki Kinugasa, head of the agricultural business section at JA Tottori Inaba’s Koge branch, said, “The brand’s name recognition increased after it became a registered GI. We hope to deliver high-quality persimmons to consumers across the country to live up to the image of the brand that has been built up by our predecessors.”