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The Native Persimmon (2015 ebook from 1915 USDA bulletin)

 
Dan Boone
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Hey, folks, I'm pleased to announce that after much transcribing and proofreading and cussing and learning to use ebook-creation tools, I've made what I think is a nice modern ebook (.mobi and .epub formats) from the 1915 USDA classic bulletin on American persimmons:

The Native Persimmon
by W. F. Fletcher
USDA Farmers' Bulletin #685 (1915)



Summary:

The Native Persimmon is a detailed (28 original pages) summary of the history, attributes, uses, and methods of propagation and cultivation of America's native persimmon tree (Diospyros virginiana). I was excited to find the original bulletin because it contains lots of information about persimmons that doesn't come up in Google searches. From the Table Of Contents:

- Introduction
- General description of the persimmon
- Possibilities of improvement
- Propagation of the persimmon
- Cultivation of the persimmon
- Uses of the persimmon tree
- Uses of the persimmon fruit
- Recipes for using persimmons
- Selected and cultivated named persimmon varieties

The USDA was a lot more oriented to what we would call permaculture and agroforestry ideas 100 years ago, even offering guild suggestions for intercropping among persimmon trees:

Probably the persimmon can be more successfully intercropped than any other fruit tree, owing to the depth of its root system. Blackberries, dewberries, strawberries, and vegetables thrive very well among persimmons until the shade becomes too dense. When the trees shade the ground, it is best to seed down the orchard if it is to be used as a run for chickens, calves, pigs, or other animals and the fruit used as stock feed. If it is planned to produce fruit for market purposes, however, the same cultivation should be given the ground as in a commercial orchard of peach or other fruit trees.


There are fifteen recipes in the recipe section, including for persimmon bread, persimmon crumpets, persimmon pancakes, persimmon-peanut muffins, and even two types of persimmon candy.

I'm excited and intrigued by the listing and descriptions of thirteen different selected, named, and cultivated varieties of native persimmons. (I have to love the "Daniel Boone" from Indiana!) I wonder how many (or how few) of these survive today?

The real meat of this book is in the sections on propagation, which explain how to grow from seed, from root cuttings, or from branchwood cuttings, as well as offering the most detailed grafting instructions I have seen anywhere for persimmons. (Really it's almost the only persimmon-specific grafting discussion I've found.)

Where To Get It

Pecan Media <<-- that's me!
Scubbly.com

Price is $2.99, and if I sell 40 or 50 of these, I'll be encouraged to do more projects like this. It's incredibly difficult and time-consuming to turn these ancient publications into modern ebooks, but there's an amazing amount of permies-useful information locked up in old dead paper. If people find this useful enough to pay for, I hope to (re)publish many more titles in the future.

Related Threads

american persimmon...a drought resistant and delicious fruit and source of beautiful carving wood
American Persimmon uses: food, fuel, carving...
 
Judith Browning
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Dan, this is wonderful! ...what a worthwhile project.
Will there be a way for those of us who aren't set up to buy things on line to send the payment through the mail?
 
Dan Boone
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Judith, thank you for the kind words.

Will there be a way for those of us who aren't set up to buy things on line to send the payment through the mail?


Oh, absolutely! For permies at least, just PM me with a request and I'll shoot you my mailing address.

I should note that I deliberately priced the ebook the same as a single packet of quality seeds from a place like Seed Savers' Exchange, to underscore that I'm not trying to hold anybody up. So if there's anybody who is counting pennies so hard that finding three spare bucks is a problem, or who just doesn't do the whole "cash economy" thing any more, I'm perfectly open to the notion of taking seeds in trade. Propose something when PMing for my mailing address, and I'll accept almost anything I don't have yet that has a prayer of growing in my zone 7 food forest or container garden.
 
John Saltveit
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Hi Dan,
Thank you for going through the effort to make these resources available to us american persimmon fanatics. I bought the ebook, and I was able to read it, but It wouldn't bookmark or save it. Is it "down" now?
THanks,
John S
PDX OR
 
Dan Boone
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Hey, John, thanks for buying it!

If you were able to read it, it got downloaded somewhere, but maybe not in a place where you can find it again when you want it.

It's my understanding that Scubbly gives you 30 days to download the product (during which time you can download it as many times as you want) and you can find everything you've bought there in the last 30 days by clicking that icon that looks like an arrow pointing down into an old-fashioned desktop inbox paper tray. (If you did the instant download via PayPal you may need to get the PayPal transaction ID from the PayPal site and enter it on the scubbly.com site.)

If you were on your desktop computer, a lot of things tend to get saved automatically in your default downloads directory. You might want to find it there and move it to somewhere you'll be able to find it again after the 30 days is up.

If you did the purchase on a mobile device (like your phone) it may be more complicated. A lot of phones don't make it easy to save files unless you buy them from an approved app store. If this sounds like your situation, maybe PM me with the details of the hardware and software you are using, so I can help you figure out how to get the download securely where you can find it again. Worst case, I can always email it to you again. But if I know your phone and reader software, I may be able to point you in the right direction first.

This is the first time I've sold a downloadable product so the technical details are new to me too. I'll do my best to help, but please understand it's more "co-learning" than me actually knowing what's going on.

 
John Saltveit
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It downloaded, and it was in my downloads, but it couldn't be saved where I could remember it in a convenient place. I tried right clicking it, then I tried to use their preferred Chrome resumable one, then the one from Firefox, of course they all want donations and none of them worked. I don't know how long it will stay in my downloads. I will try to make sure I read all of it, so that if I can't find it again I will have looked at it at least one time.
John S
PDX OR
 
Dan Boone
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If it doesn't stay, let me know. We'll make it right one way or another.
 
Bill Erickson
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I downloaded it and pulled it into my Kindle library. Synching things has been fun of late, but it does work and allow me to read it on all of my devices with my Kindle applications.

I liked the little story you opened it with, Dan.
 
John Saltveit
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I went into the downloads folder and from there I was finally able to right click it and move it to a folder where I could find it.
Thanks
John S
PDX OR
 
Dan Boone
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Awesome!
 
Dan Boone
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Bill Erickson wrote: I downloaded it and pulled it into my Kindle library. Synching things has been fun of late, but it does work and allow me to read it on all of my devices with my Kindle applications.

I liked the little story you opened it with, Dan.


Thanks, Bill. Glad it worked for you and glad you liked the preface.
 
Will Holland
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Wow I can't wait to read this!
 
Dan Boone
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I think the thing that made me fall in love with this pamphlet was this little paragraph:

There are several factors which are responsible for the slow progress of persimmon development in this country. One reason for the neglect of this fruit seems to be the erroneous yet oft-repeated statement that persimmons are unfit to eat until they have either been touched by frost or frozen. Although this statement has been corrected by nearly every one who has studied the subject, nevertheless throughout the regions where persimmons are grown many of the best fruits are lost each year because they ripen and fall before frost or before they are supposed to be edible. The truth of the matter is that freezing is as detrimental to the quality of persimmons as to the quality of any other fruit. If persimmons are not edible and free from astringency before frost, it is because the variety is a late one and the fruit has not yet matured.


100 years later I am still routinely being told "they get better after first frost" or "you have to wait until they freeze before they get properly ripe" by the people in my local wildcrafting group who ought to know better. Folkloric nonsense can be hard to kill! The reality is that there's a ton of genetic variation and the ripen times on persimmons are all over the map; Judith Browning has trees that ripen in late August, I have trees that ripen in early-mid September, and there's one tree at a local clinic that bore fruit this year that was still green and crispy and completely inedible when we got a killing hard freeze on October 31st. I went by a couple of weeks after that and the fruit were still on the branches and were fermenting and molding due to the cellular damage from the freeze but still full of inedible tannins. Freeze killed that fruit before it ripened, it didn't help in any way.

It just depends on the tree. Certainly there are trees where the ripening process is nearly complete at first frost, and where the fruit continues to ripen for a day or two after. But it's not the majority of trees around here.
 
Dan Boone
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As I mentioned in my OP, at the end of the Bulletin there's a discussion of specific persimmon cultivars, introduced thusly:

The native persimmon varieties that have thus far received names and been disseminated for cultivation have originated as chance seedlings, being brought into cultivation from the wild state. Brief descriptions of the fruit of some of the better known varieties follow.


I've been Googling around, trying without much success to determine if any of the named varieties still survive today. Here's the description of the one named (presumably) for my pioneering maybe-ancestor:

Boone (Daniel Boone). Origin, Indiana, where it ripens during October and November; form, roundish oblate; size, medium; color, yellow, with a dull blush in the sun; skin, rather tough; seeds, numerous; flavor, sweet but not rich; quality, good.
 
John Saltveit
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Early Golden is still one of the most popular variety and wins lots of awards. Hicks, Miller, and Ruby are still around. I am not familiar with the others. There are some nurseries that sell varieties: England's , One Green World, and some others.
John S
PDX OR
 
Judith Browning
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Hi, Dan...........Got my 'ebook' and wanted to say thank you so much...it is wonderful. As much as I have studied on persimmons, I learned several new things from that pamphlet in just the first browse.
I'll be looking forward to more books in the future
 
Dan Boone
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Judith you are so welcome! I'm delighted you found the ebook worthwhile.

The feedback on this has been positive enough, I will definitely be doing more of these.
 
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