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The Pawpaw–could it become a commercial fruit?

The pawpaw is a fruit that is native to the Southeast along with other areas of hardiness zones 6a to 8a.  It grows on a shrub in shady conditions but can also do well in full sun.  Very few people have ever tasted a pawpaw (myself included) because they have a very short shelf life and are not suitable for long-distance transportation, although they could be sold in local farmers’ markets.  They are also difficult to transplant, which would make commercial production difficult.  A recent article (link) in The Modern Farmer describes the 16th annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival in rural southeast Ohio and how they are celebrating the reportedly delicious, creamy fruit.  The article discusses the difficulties with production but also mentions the use of pawpaw pulp in beer production, and says the fruit imparts a delicious flavor to the brews.

You can get more information on pawpaws from the GA Dept of Agriculture here or from Walter Reeves ‘web site here.