The Home Growers Circle: Real people with a passion to grow real food

Ethel & Bill Robert Charmaine & Brian Brandon Nancy Lewis & Tara Malika & Donny Andy & Susanna Craig & Gary Warren & Lovejoy

Lewis & Tara / Santa Monica

Persimmons Report 2010


Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 10:22PM

The week before Halloween, word rolls that Chef Jason is coming up with new recipes as he shifts to the fall menu. Friday is Harvest Call. Hurray, it’s time to bring in what has been defended, protected, forming and ripening for months. It’s still amazing to me that we inspire Jason, because he inspires us. What do we growers want to call our dishes? How much more exciting can it get?

When I read the Silverlake Wine Shop notice there was this new restaurant nine months ago that would take Lew’s overflow of exotic fruit, little did I know it would lead to this. Friday, we will be delivering the first crop of persimmons. So what dishes do we want? Lew’s idea for Wake-Up Turkey coffee dressing went nowhere, but we did get 16 cups from this year’s Kona Java two-tree crop. That feels like a minor miracle.

As it happens, I’m reading Santa Monica resident Mona Simpson’s new book My Hollywood for book club. It’s about new moms mostly, their husbands and their Filipina nannies.  The main protagonist Claire, a composer and new mother, makes a wicked persimmon pudding.  Wouldn't it be swell to somehow fit Lewis’s name in with the title of Ms. Simpson's book?   My Persimmonkins Pudding may be a stretch. If Chef Jason goes for it we could invite Ms. Simpson to sample some and who knows, O or Sunset magazines could cover it. Momoirist (a new name for a literary genre of mothers writing about motherhood) Erika Schickel, author of You're Not the Boss of Me, is a mutual friend of Ms. Simpson's.  Perhaps she can join in. Part of me is kidding, part is not.  

What is a persimmon? Lew grows two kinds. The Hatchiya is tear dropped shaped which must be eaten fully ripe. Birds are cognizant of this and will peck at the brilliantly orange spots. We fool the birds by netting the tree which gives them the ability to peck at one fruit we leave for them hiding the others behind them. The Fuyus, meanwhile, are round and flatter, a bit donut shaped. Tasty once they get that sweeter quality but can be eaten while a little crisper and transport easier to market. Hatchiyas can’t be transported and are a local delight. Lucky us.

For 20 years Tara has been helping families in Los Angeles come out of the skid of separation and divorce, make sense of the blur they find themselves in and clear the path to a brighter future. Being with Lewis in his garden and involvement in the locavore movement is a blessing which helps her stay sane in the process. Tara blogs about families and relationships on the Huffington Post. You can learn more about her work at

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We know how much everyone in this city loves the movies. Have you seen this one? The Garden is an Academy Award nominated documentary that tells the story of urban farmers who struggle against land developers to keep their community farm in South Central Los Angeles alive. This film offers a revealing look at the challenges of urban farming in a megacity once known for its agricultural output. The director of the film, Scott Hamilton Kennedy, is a Silver Lake resident and he has offered to not only sell DVDs of the film at a 10% discount, but also grant 10% of proceeds to support the certification fees of future participants of the Home Growers Circle. Buy a DVD and help us build support for an eleventh urban microfarmer. Maybe we'll have to ask one of the microfarmers to raise some corn so that we can make some home-grown movie popcorn. Click here to order a DVD and support the Home Growers Circle. Remember to use promotional code FORAGE.