Persimmons grown in Japan will go on sale in Australia this month for the first time following a regulatory change earlier this year, making possible off-season availability of the orange, tomato-shaped fruit, the Sydney office of the Japan External Trade Organization said Wednesday.
In January, the Australian government relaxed quarantine conditions that had required persimmons grown in Japan to be treated with a specific pesticide to be imported. The harmful effect of the pesticide on crop quality effectively prevented exports until now.
Under the new trial import program, roughly 1 ton of persimmons grown in Wakayama Prefecture in western Japan have been imported and will go on sale from Friday through Sunday at select Asian grocery stores around Sydney.
Three Japanese restaurants in Sydney will also include them on their menus.
"One persimmon can provide the recommended daily intake of vitamins A and C," Shigekazu Kimura, a senior official of Kihoku-kawakami Agricultural Cooperative Society in Wakayama, said at a JETRO-hosted event in Sydney, explaining the many health benefits of the sweet fruit.
Justin Shield, a fruit importer, says the biggest benefit of importing persimmons from Japan is that Australian customers will have more opportunity to buy the fruit.
"Persimmon production starts in Australia, and then New Zealand in June, and then by mid-August, production finishes," said Shield, a senior manager at ANTICO International.
"So provided there is protocol, which there is now for Japan (to export), there's an opportunity to buy northern-hemisphere persimmons during our summer months," he said.
Persimmons are still a lesser-known fruit in Australia. However, Shield said their popularity is growing.