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The Persimmon Lady’s 2018-19 Winter Forecast

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The Persimmon Lady’s 2018-19 Winter Forecast

Around this time each year, we check in with Melissa Bunker of North Carolina, a.k.a., “The Persimmon Lady,” who sends us her winter predictions based on seeds she opens from the persimmon fruit grown on her tree in central North Carolina. This year was a bit of a challenge, thanks to Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in North Carolina on September 14. Melissa’s family and her persimmon tree were right in its path. This week, she shared with us her harrowing story of salvaging the fruits and getting a persimmon seed forecast for us:

The Persimmon Lady’s Story from Hurricane Florence

We lost power for a little while but were lucky. We did have flooding inside our home! This was a constant battle for two days, but we’re nice and dry now! We were luckier than most.

Prior to the storm, I kept an eye on my persimmon tree watching the fruit. They came early this year, so I should have taken the hint that something large was coming, but between family life and other things, I got pretty busy. Most of the persimmons remained green right as the storm hit. After the storm (the tree was still standing), I looked at the fruit and saw they were peachy orange in color, with ripe ones at the top. Because the tree was too large to shake them down, I decided to wait. That evening, the soggy ground released the roots and down she came. The next morning during the intermittent rain, I saw my beloved tree laying in the mud and its unripe fruits scattered. I left my tree and allowed the dead limbs to ripen the fruit. This morning I gathered as many as I could.

The delicate persimmon fruit damaged by Hurricane Florence.

My beautiful persimmon tree, sadly, is gone. It served me well. It was heartbreaking to see it laying there but I will be saving some seeds and starting them in the spring to begin a new persimmon grove.  

(Continued Below)

The 2018 Persimmon Seed Forecast

So what did the seeds say? According to folklore, if you crack open a persimmon seed from a ripe fruit and the shape inside (called a cotyledon) looks like a fork, winter will be mild; if you see a spoon, there will be a lot of snow, and if there is a knife, winter will be bitingly cold and “cut like a knife.”

Here’s what Melissa found:

I opened up not my normal five fruits (containing 3-4 readable seeds each) but a grand total of 26 fruits, for a total of over 100 seeds altogether. Out of this total, I only found two forks. The remaining seeds were all spoons. No knives. This will be a winter for the record books in central North Carolina!

This year’s seeds (2018) revealed all spoons and only 2 forks. No knives.

I have never seen this in all of my years. I’ve heard of similar stories from my grandfather. One story happened in 1962, where the seeds read all spoons and the precipitation was almost constant and continued until May of 1963. In 1985, when I was only 5 years old, it happened again. At the time, I was mostly excited to be getting some snow days from school, but my grandfather’s ominous look sobered my childish dreams of lazing around, and we began furiously canning and preparing the freezers for what was coming.

This is Melissa’s 10th year reading the seeds. While her beloved tree is gone, she tells us she can hike into the mountains to gather fruit until her new tree bears fruit. We look forward to the reading next year.

What do persimmons taste like? Read all about the fruit here!

Forks, Knives, Spoons – What Do They Look Like?

Below is a graphic from The Persimmon Lady detailing what each of the shapes look like:

Graphic by Melissa Bunker, aka, the Persimmon Lady, from her Facebook page.

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30 comments

1 Wayne { 11.14.18 at 4:14 pm }

Just checked my seeds and 7 straight spoons of the ones I could see. Headed out to shopvac all the lying seeds now.

2 Jessica Duckworth { 10.16.18 at 11:14 am }

I am so sorry to hear about the misfortune of your tree and the flooding but HAPPY to hear you are ok! I live in Northern Virginia and we have a couple of persimmon trees in our back yard. How do you open the seeds? Do you just cut them? It’s my 1st time trying to open seeds :). Thank you! And God Bless!

3 Melody { 10.12.18 at 5:58 pm }

My aunt sent me your link. Ironically my dad just brought home a couple of handfuls of wild persimmons. They are loaded with seeds. How do you split the seeds? With a knife? Curious to give this a whirl as maybe growing a tree or 2…..

4 RonMon { 10.12.18 at 9:58 am }

What was the 2017,2013,2018 predictions and results?

5 jack { 10.05.18 at 11:00 am }

what was the 2017, 2013, and 2008 predictions and results?

6 Lorena { 10.01.18 at 6:22 am }

I live in west central Georgia near the Al line. We also had spoons. I think we need to prepair.

7 Cheryl McClain { 09.28.18 at 5:17 am }

Ms. Melissa… So very sorry for the loss of your beloved tree! Thank you for your knowledge and help in letting us all know what may or may not have happened all these years. I pray you will have another great tree in the near future! God Bless!

8 Gregory { 09.27.18 at 1:00 pm }

Melissa, since you’re young and probably strong you would be smart to (with help of a friend) find a sturdy, healthy persimmon tree {4 plus feet high} and transplant one rather than waiting for a seed to prove itself as a producer. Good luck.

9 Penny Crawford { 09.26.18 at 9:52 pm }

So sorry you and your family were in the path of Florence and that you lost your persimmon tree. My prayers are with you to have a quick recovery .
I have a hunting outpost in Macon county in Alabama and have enjoyed learning from you about the weather . It’s my joy to go and pick persimmon’s and get so excited to crack open the seeds. I have Spoons as well.
Each year it has been right .

10 Judy { 09.26.18 at 8:57 pm }

Melissa, I am so sorry you had to endure the ravages of Hurricane Florence, how terrible for you! I hope this finds you and yours doing a bit better. And secondly, the loss of your persimmon tree is simply awful! My parents were raised in the small town of Taylorville, IL. Taylorville holds an annual Persimmon Festival to bring friends and family together in celebration of the beautiful Autumn season and the much-beloved persimmon tree. The festival is food, fun and fellowship for the community of Taylorville as well as the many tiny surrounding towns and villages. Thank you for sharing all of your interesting information as well as the last secrets from your persimmon tree. My best..

11 The Persimmon Lady { 09.26.18 at 7:33 pm }

Hey guys! Thanks for all the support! I cannot tell you all how much your support means not only to me but the Farmers’ Almanac. If you look back on the past years readings you can see the seeds follow 95% accuracy with the almanac. You can always follow me on Facebook or email me directly at thepersimmonlady@gmail.com At my Facebook page you can see the start of the new Persimmon grove! I’ve instructed the post to detail how to start your own persimmon seeds.

12 Susan Higgins { 09.26.18 at 3:35 pm }

Hi Peggy, if you check out the winter weather map, you’ll see what we’re forecasting for your Zone in our winter weather outlook. https://www.farmersalmanac.com/weather-outlook/2019-winter-forecast

Additionally, we have 16 months of forecasts in the Almanac for your (and other) zones, that list weather condition predictions in 3-day increments. The forecasts are general for each zone, but we drill down to specific areas if we’re forecasting anything major.

13 Peggy Beckerdite { 09.26.18 at 12:52 pm }

So, how come there are never any decent predictions for Northeastern California? I never see anything on Farmer’s Almanac about us. It’s not all tropical and Hollywood, thank goodness for the latter, there is more than one weather zone her. So help us out and send us something.

14 Elizabeth { 09.26.18 at 12:33 pm }

Since I have never seen this before, could you post a picture of what a fork and knife looks like for comparison? It’s very fascinating!!

15 Charlie Bluff { 09.26.18 at 12:27 pm }

Thank you for the forecast….The squirrels have been hurrying around and gathering a lot of nuts….so your forecast would be for us too, since we live in Southern Il. further North of you.

16 Vernon { 09.26.18 at 11:48 am }

All 6 persimmons, here in Jefferson City, Missouri, were all spoons.

17 Richard L Smith { 09.26.18 at 11:21 am }

Checked mine and all I saw was spoons North East Missouri, it was the same last year so I am hoping it won’t be too bad, we had a lot of rain last winter.

18 Myra { 09.26.18 at 10:57 am }

So sorry to hear about your persimmon tree, Melissa. Mine got knocked down last year, not by any force of nature, but by the guy from the county who mows the rights-of-way, and it wasn’t even on the right-of-way. I was really, really mad. I, too, loved my persimmon tree.

19 Frances B Eades { 09.26.18 at 10:52 am }

how about winter in Wisconsin what is our weather I have no Persimmon Seed so can you tell me email bell55dot@yahoo.com I’m 71 an would love to know where do I get the fruit love reading these things thank you

20 Prairiegirl { 09.26.18 at 10:08 am }

So sorry to hear about your beloved tree. It is a terrible thing to see a tree come down whether on purpose or due to weather. I live in the frozen north and have been seeing signs of a long hard winter for over a month so I am stocking up on non-perishables. Good luck with your new trees, the more the better.

21 Jeletta Brant { 09.26.18 at 9:19 am }

I am so sorry to hear of your tree becoming a casualty of Florence. I’m thankful you and your family are safe! Looks like a tough winter for a lot of us!

22 Nettie108 { 09.26.18 at 8:42 am }

I love this…do you know how it might affect woodstock Georgia, if at all?

23 Patti Teeters { 09.26.18 at 8:32 am }

I always look forward to your persimmon seed forecast every year, Melissa. Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful person. Sorry you lost your tree and hope the next ones come on healthy and fruitful. Thanks for your forecast. It’s good you made it through the hurricane.

24 Joyce Crowley { 09.26.18 at 8:31 am }

Does this mean a lot of snow in your part of the country or all over?

25 Barry Jones { 09.26.18 at 7:58 am }

The Lord works in all kind of ways to show us all about different things….just like the squirrels rushing to gather nuts…..sorry to hear about your tree….when is a good time to plant the seeds.

26 Lily { 09.26.18 at 7:42 am }

How accurate have the seeds been in past years?

27 Dian Avriett { 09.26.18 at 7:29 am }

I have opened seed from about six wild persimmon trees in northwest Arkansas and almost all of them are spoons.

28 Diane { 09.26.18 at 7:28 am }

Can u explain to me on how to Collect the Seeds & Start them please..

29 Denise { 09.26.18 at 7:25 am }

How awesome is the Law of Nature

30 Sis { 09.26.18 at 7:08 am }

Sorry about your tree. Your comment are very interesting and informative. Thank you

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