Wednesday, September 16, 2020

PawPaw Season Questions Answered: What they taste like. What to do with them. How to grow them.


I'm going to answer some of our most common PawPaw questions....


Q: What is a PawPaw?
A: They are our nations largest native fruit. They are found in Appalachia area, northeast (but not above lower New York State), parts of the Midwest, and Southeast.

Q: What do they taste like? 
A: They are their own thing for sure.  Super fragrant! It's hard to say exactly what they taste like but kind of like a cross between a mango and banana with a fermenty finish. 

Q: How do I eat them? What is their texture? 
A: You slice them in half and grab a spoon. Their flesh is similar to a thick yogurt.

Q: How do I know if they are ready to eat? 
A: Pawpaws are like a banana in that they yellow then turn black with ripeness. Usually you know a pawpaw is ready when they drop off the tree but due to food safety rules we do not pick up dropped fruit.  We harvest them as soon as they have a little give when squeezed. So shoppers take them home and let them ripen on the counter. 

Q: Do they have seeds? 
A: Yes, a few large brown seeds in the shape and size of lima beans. 

Q: What can you do with them? 
A: Eat them fresh is how they're usually eaten. They also make a good pie...follow a pumpkin pie recipe and sub the pumpkin for pawpaw. We have a recipe on the blog under the "cooking" tab. You can also make puddings or pastry fillings. And lastly, brewers can add them to beer. There are a few breweries in Ohio area that make pawpaw beer. 


Q: How many trees do you have? 
A: 100

Q: When are they ready for harvest? 
A: Early-mid September

Q: When did you plant the trees? 
A: We planted most of our trees in 2014 and then planted a few to replace trees that had died or been severely damaged by deer in 2018. 


**I did extensive research before tying up a good piece of ground in a crop that 99% of people of have never heard of. I am still learning and do not have all of the answers. I encourage you to also do your research especially if you're a fellow farmer. 

Q: Where do I buy trees? 
A: One Green World or Nolan River in Kentucky...there are a few other places too so do you research!

Q: Where can I find resources? 
A: The book. "PawPaw, In Search of our Nations Forgotten Fruit," Kentucky State University, and through Neal Peterson who is known as the "Johnny PawPaw Seed",

Q: How many trees do I need. 
A: You need 3 trees of 3 different varieties to get fruit. 

Q: How long will it take until I get fruit? 
A: From grafted trees it took us 6 years to get a few fruit. 8 years until full production like apples. 

Q: What do you think are the best varieties? 
A: We haven't been getting fruit long enough to give too much feed back here but so far Susquehanna and Shenandoah 

Q: How far do you space them apart? 
A: We spaced ours 10 feet apart.

Q: I thought they grew in the shade. Are you growing yours in the shade? 
A: It's true, PawPaws are an under story tree.  However, we grow them in the fields just like the peaches and apples. This means they need a lot of water. We grow them on landscape fabric with drip running underneath. Young trees need about 1.5 inches of water per week. 

As I get questions I'll update this post with the answers. Hope this helps! 


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