A reader e-mails looking for two items: fresh persimmons and pear relish. The persimmons are for her grandmother's pudding recipe.
The good news is persimmons are currently on the produce stand at many of the area Harris Teeter stores. Not all their stores carry this fruit, but they are in stock at the Morrocroft store (6701 Morrison Blvd.). These fuyu persimmons are imported from Peru and cost $2 a piece — which is pricey when you consider how cheap persimmons are in northern California. I have also seen persimmons in the Asian markets. Anh Dao Sakura Oriental Market (2819 South Blvd.) has fuyus for $1.99 per pound. In fact, the Vietnamese use persimmons in a fall festival, Têt-Trung-Thu, and since the Vietnamese are the third largest ethnic group in Charlotte, many of the Asian markets had the Vietnamese persimmons (hong) in September. This fruit is yellow and sweet.
The other part of the good news is persimmons grow here in Charlotte. A persimmon tree is highly prolific and has the added bonus of having spectacular leaf color in the fall. Typically an oriental persimmon, like the fuyu, is grafted onto the more durable native American persimmon, the Diospyros virginiana.
Pear relish is available at the Yorkmont Farmers Market. Stop by Mrs. Hoyle's counter for some of her pear relish sold by the pint and half pint. She will only be at the market a few more Saturdays this winter, and then she'll be back again in the spring. Mrs. Hoyle is in the second building near Nova's Bakery.
Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-522-8334, extension 136.