We heard of pawpaws just a couple of years ago, but never had the opportunity to try them. They aren't sold in grocery stores, because they don't have a very long shelf life. There is a Pawpaw Festival in Ohio (about 3 hours from where we live) - but it always falls on the weekend of both the Pork Festival (right here in our own community) and the nearby Wool Festival - and let's face it...fiber and racing pigs trump a long drive for some fruit.
We did plant two pawpaw trees on the property. I know, it's crazy to plant fruit that we've never even tasted - what if we hated them? If we hate them, we'd be happy to donate them to a school or shelter in the area. But, on the bright side - what if we LOVE them? I just wish we could figure out a way to try them out and know what to expect when we get fruit (in several years).
Last year; however, we heard, at another festival called the "Fall Gathering," at our local historical society that they had pawpaw trees right there in the forest area that surrounds the historical society property. At that time, it was past pawpaw season and we missed our window. But this year, I promised myself that I would remember to venture out and check those trees around September to see if we could try those sweet fruits.
Saturday morning, we got the kids ready for a hike and drove about 15-20 minutes from our house to walk through the property of the historical society and see what we could forage for. We walked through a corn field, along the edge of the forest - looking up, as much as we could, without tripping along the trail. We found leaves that looked similar to the leaves we see on our very small pawpaw trees.
|This looks like the size and shape of the pawpaw leaves....but no fruit.|
|This is the style of door I want to use in the upper level of the barn. They had them on the stalls of their restrooms.|
|I just love the bark on this tree.|
|Well hello Caterpillar...don't you look beautiful today.|
|My little foragers - Mark, Gage, Drake and Cora.|
|Cora found some nice pieces of feed corn that were still in the field, after harvest. We also found a black walnut seed, a few other seed pods (Mark collects seed pods for teaching), and this is just three of the 10 pawpaws that we harvested.|
|The inside of the pawpaw - those brown pieces are pawpaw seeds - you don't eat those or the skin. But that sweet, cream colored flesh around the seeds is what you DO eat and it is DELICIOUS!|
I can't wait until our pawpaw trees grow stronger and begin to fruit. I know it will be several years from now, but it will be great when they do. For now, we know where we can go to snag a couple each year and tide us over. They are free, delicious, natural and healthy - the perfect substitute for bananas!!!!