The Pawpaw Report — September 15, 2016

I can’t keep up!

If you live north of the Carolinas then you need to get to your patch, to your garden, to your orchard, to your neighbor’s yard–get out there and pick them pawpaws!

***

Pawpaws are ripe in the Shenandoah Valley–have been for a little while. But apparently the bears have moved on to acorns, according to a ranger there.

Near Manassas, Virginia, the pawpaws are ripe. A gentleman picked one last Sunday and had it for breakfast this Tuesday.

Pawpaws are ripe in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; and near Berryville, Virginia.

Garden pawpaws in the southern Allegheny Valley of southwest Pennsylvania are ripe. Dropping daily. In one particular garden, the trees had lost flowers to a late frost. But as has been reported elsewhere, the trees bloomed again, and fruit set is normal.

This weekend is the Ohio Pawpaw Festival. And so the pawpaws must be ripe in southern Ohio.

I’ve just (just!) received word that pawpaws outside Ann Arbor, Michigan, are beginning to drop.

***

Displaying CAM00079.jpg

The Pawpaw Report – September 7, 2016

 

Pawpaws in the gardens of central North Carolina are nearly finished. They may linger elsewhere in the state, and in wild places. Back in the swamps.

Pawpaws in central Kentucky orchards are in full swing. Wild pawpaws are ripening and falling. (And it’s a good year too–fine eating in the orchards and the woods).

 

DSC_1022.JPG

Pawpaw in a creek near Frankfort, Kentucky. September 1, 2016. Photo: Andrew Moore

Wild pawpaws in Clifton, Virginia–the report is to come.

Pawpaws in the gardens and orchards of southern Indiana are ripe.

Displaying CAM00070.jpg

 

Jerry Lehman, of Terre Haute, Indiana, shows a ripe pawpaw to fellow participants of Kentucky State University’s 4th International Pawpaw Conference. September 1st, 2016. Photo: Andrew Moore

 

 

A pawpaw was picked from near The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s historic home east of Nashville, Tennessee. It was delicious, and stood out. I recall dark orange flesh.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, pawpaws are ripe near rivers, and falling on heads.

In southern Ohio, many flowers were hit by the late frost. This is true elsewhere, including southwest Pennsylvania, Maryland, and throughout the Mid-Atlantic. In Michigan, however, after a few poor years, growers seem poised for a good crop–an advantage this year for northern growers.

Still, pawpaws are ripening now in southern Ohio.

And a few pawpaws in the Pittsburgh area are beginning to fall.

***

Expat dispatch: A pawpaw falls in Utah. (KSU-Atwood was the first to fall this year in that particular garden).

 

The Pawpaw Report – August 26, 2016

 

Pawpaws in the deepest South are all but finished.

Pawpaws in the Atlanta area are ripe now. [Chattahoochee pawpaws. Chattahoochee Custard Apples?]

In South Carolina, reporter Thelisha Casey enjoyed a ripe pawpaw in the Congaree National Park. #nps100

Pawpaws in Winston-Salem are peaking, if not waning. If you read this today or tomorrow, drive swiftly but safely to Winston-Salem–Saturday is the North Carolina Pawpaw Festival!

A pawpaw cultivar feast was had in Asheville, North Carolina.

Casey Trees, in Washington D.C., has at least one ripe pawpaw.

A Virginian told me they got their first pawpaw this week.

Pawpaws in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, are not yet ripe.

In Pittsburgh, we’re still maybe a week away. Most of the pawpaws are solid as rock.

If you’re north of Pittsburgh, your pawpaws shouldn’t be ripe. If you they are, that’s special, so give me a call.

 

 

Pawpaws in Bosnia and Croatia

In June, I took an incredible opportunity to travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. I have much to say about that experience. But this blog post will be in brief and about pawpaws.

Pawpaws are currently available at at least one Croatian nursery, Exotic King. (A current article about the nursery and co-owners Ivan Šulog and Martina Perešin Šulog: here).

One of the many great people we met in Sarajevo was Fedja Krivosič. Fedja recently planted a pawpaw tree on his family’s land, a beautiful property that also hosts community farming and agricultural research projects. Depending on this pawpaw’s success, and the success of a few soon-to-be-planted trees, Fedja has plans for an exciting new pawpaw-related project involving a local school.

 

The young tree appears to be grafted, and I assume the variety is called “Gent bloom 2” or “mud’oul trojlaločný”.

We toured Fedja’s property, and talked pawpaws for a while. Towards the end of the evening Fedja invited us to pick cherries from one of his large and loaded trees. So Boris and Cornelius climbed on the roof with a fruit picker and set to work gathering cherries until the sun set.

 

***

My friends told me that in Bosnia, much fruit is grown for alcohol production. Rakia, the umbrella term for fruit brandies, are quite popular (and delicious!). I’m hoping Fedja and his colleagues do find success with the pawpaw, and that I might someday return and sample a homemade pawpaw rakia.

Pawpaw Road Trippin’, Part 2: North Carolina Pawpaw Festival 2015 & West Virginia rambling

Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit is available from Chelsea Green Publishing

 

The North Carolina Pawpaw Festival has become a gathering of the region’s most dedicated, knowledgeable, and passionate pawpaw enthusiasts. I was honored to be among them a few weeks ago for the 8th annual event.

  • Ron and Terry Powell, of the North American Pawpaw Growers Association, disseminated information on growing, processing, and marketing pawpaws (and sold copies of their organization’s pawpaw cookbook!)
  • Though it was unripe, Woody Walker (who, several years ago, discovered and promoted the Kentucky Champion pawpaw tree) brought one of his “free stone” pawpaws for show, and offered dozens of seedlings for sale

DSC_0114

Walker holds his “free stone” pawpaw

  • Full of Life Farms’ Wynn Dinsen–whose pawpaws supply Fullsteam Brewery for its various pawpaw beers–sold fresh fruit and treesDSC_0119

A ripe, yellowing pawpaw from Dinsen’s orchard

  • Milton Parker sold seedling pawpaws and potted figs
  • Neal Peterson shared tips on growing pawpaws in commercial settings (and his vast knowledge of all things pawpaw), and information on his own Peterson Pawpaws
  • And among several other vendors was Afton, Virginia’s, Edible Landscaping, a longtime champion of, yep, edible landscaping, and one of the premier vendors of grafted pawpaws. Nursery owner Michael McConkey was in attendance throughout the festival.

DSC_0134

McConkey in the pawpaw patch

The festival is a production of the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension Service.

Fullsteam Brewery had originally planned to attend the festival and, I’m assuming, offer samples of its pawpaw beer(s). Unfortunately this was not able to occur. I’d interacted with Fullsteam on Twitter, inquiring whether their pawpaw Tripel would be available elsewhere in Winston-Salem, but no, unfortunately the nearest option would be Charlotte.

DSC_0166

Meanwhile, attempting to make good on a promise to a friend in Pittsburgh to bring back a regional beer, I asked a festival-goer about finding local brews. With her tip to check out Stella Brew, a craft beer bottle shop, I was delighted to find their Fullsteam collection. I mentioned to the shopkeeper my reason from visiting Winston-Salem and she said, “We’ve got Fullsteam’s pawpaw beer on tap!”

DSC_0164

I bought a growler of the Pawpaw Tripel and shared it with a room of pawpaw obsessives and it was pure joy.

DSC_0168 DSC_0171

Check out Fullsteam’s Forager series by clicking here.

***

I gathered with a few friends that evening to sample nearly a dozen pawpaws, to compare cultivars and record our impressions of each. I wrote extensive notes on each pawpaw in my pocket-sized notebook and then proceeded to lose that notebook in the North Hills of Pittsburgh a few days later. (If anyone finds a notebook with unusual flavor notes, that’s it, let me know).

DSC_0180

DSC_0198

***

On my way home, the next day, I took several detours in West Virginia, and found pawpaws everywhere. Below are pictures taken in and around the historic Thurmond, West Virginia. Pawpaws eveywhere.DSC_0211 DSC_0217 DSC_0218 DSC_0233