While working in the yard yesterday, an Asian woman with a heavy accent stopped her car and asked if I knew where Shoemaker Farm was. I’d never heard of it, I said.

“There are persimmons,” she said.

“Aah! It’s just down the street.”

There’s a u-pick persimmon orchard two blocks from our house, only I hadn’t known the name.


This morning, I loaded up my two sons and drove the truck down the street. For $20, we got to fill up a five-gallon bucket. Cass helped picked some low-hanging fruit.


Miles helped by taking the fruit back out of the bucket and tossing it on the ground.


There were two older women picking to the east of us and three Asian families picking to the west of us. These were Fuyu persimmons. They come from Japan. It made sense that the people most interested in picking a bucket of persimmons were immigrants from Asia.

But I didn’t fill my bucket to the rim. During the picking, we took a break and ate a couple.

Also, and more importantly, a couple days earlier while taking a jog near the persimmon orchard, I had picked a couple because I wanted to see if they were ripe, and I wanted my visiting brother and his family to taste them. I had known that I would come pay for a bucket soon — that was how I justified the “theft.”

When we were done picking, Cass, Miles and I brought our bucket back to show Mrs. Shoemaker.

“You didn’t quite fill it up,” she said.

“I know. We ate a couple while we were down there picking.”

“Well, I’m going to fill it up for you,” she said, and she fetched a nearby plastic bag of persimmons. 

I felt guilty, but I didn’t say anything, and then Mrs. Shoemaker made me feel guiltier.

“Ed caught a woman trying to steal these the other day, so let me put them in your bucket.”