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I am very excited to announce that we received a grant from the Northern Nut Grower's Association and also funding from the National Pawpaw Foundation, so our project is fully funded and will be in action soon! Earlier this week I went to Dr. Ron Powell's farm to collect as many different varieties as I could to create composites that we will send to the laboratory for analysis. We also did some preliminary analysis on the fruit weight, size, and skin color.

This weekend we will be doing the processing so that it can be delivered to the contract laboratory for analysis. I am very excited to share the updated nutrition information when Dr. Brannan and I receive it! Jump to.

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PAW PAW IN SEARCH OF AMERICAS FORGOTTEN FRUIT

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Pawpaw In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit

The answer to the second question is more complex. According to Devon Mihesuah , whose work at the University of Kansas focuses on empowering indigenous peoples, the pawpaw was not only enjoyed as food, but also valued as the raw material for products as diverse as head-lice shampoo and ropes. Early colonists too were intrigued by the fruit, and a stand of pawpaw trees helped Lewis and Clark survive a tricky patch on the Oregon Trail.

So why is it overlooked today?

Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit

This episode, we explore why, and we speak to the pawpaw breeders, farmers, and enthusiasts who are leading its revival. And Sara Bir , the Gastropod listener who suggested this episode, has written a pawpaw cookbook that aims to lure the uninitiated with puddings and quick breads. Listen in now to find out more about this mysterious fruit—including where can you get hold of it! It is an engaging read beyond my own obsessive interest in these things.

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So without further ado here are a few words with the author:. And yet despite these exceptional traits the pawpaw is largely unknown. When I first learned about the pawpaw I wondered how did this unusual fruit come to be, and why is it that so few of us know that it even exists? Then I began to wonder, does it have a future as a commercial crop, on farms and in backyards? I continued to ask questions, and traveled to meet pawpaw growers in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Maryland, and once it became clear I had caught the pawpaw bug I was already well-along the path to writing this book.

Did you find any interesting historical facts about the way these fruit might have been used by people, and what kinds of people ate them and how? Various Native American groups ate fresh pawpaws and likely cooked or dried them too. The inner bark of pawpaw trees was also used as fiber for a number of purposes, including the stringing of fish.

In , a contest was held by the Journal of Heredity to find the best pawpaws in America. And among the top seven fruits was a selection from Maryland. Beginning around , Neal Peterson conducted his pawpaw breeding experiments in Maryland, in cooperation with the University of Maryland. Today, the largest commercial orchard currently in production, is located near Westminster, Maryland.

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