Dear Pawpaw Fruit Seekers,
Thank you to all for coming to Hardwick to pick up pawpaws from me in October. I enjoyed meeting you and providing you with ripe fruit. For November I am partnering with my friends at Still Life Farm for distribution. You may be able to pick up pawpaws at one of their markets in the Boston area. Reach out to StillLifeFarm@aol.com with your pawpaw inquiries.
My favorite recipe is pawpaw soda. I need only a spoonful of deseeded and skinless pawpaw flesh. In a tall glass I use a fork to puree the fruit. Then I fill the glass with seltzer, stir, and then enjoy the taste and aroma of flavors like coconut, mango, and banana.
Many love the fragrance of ripening pawpaws. I enjoy transporting them in a vehicle that fills with the heavy fruity scent. Having pawpaws in your car is a great reason to keep your windows closed.
FAQ: I do not sell pawpaw trees. Below is information on tree vendors. Your source of seed for plants can be from fruit you purchase. Some of my favorite customers send photos of trees they have grown from my fruit.
I do not ship pawpaw fruit. Shipping is a nuisance in terms of packaging items carefully and making a dreaded trip to the post office or the UPS shipping pick up location. Some past shipments of perishable fruit have take more than two weeks to arrive. Integration Acres is in the business of shipping pawpaw fruit and does a great job.
I plan to have pawpaws for sale at the Hardwick Farmers Market on Sundays until Halloween 2021. The grove is in my backyard. For many reasons, my family prefers that I meet pawpaw people at the public venue of the farmers market.
I recommend highly the wonderful pawpaw video by Blanche Cybele Derby for the gorgeous imagery and valuable information. Blanche is a very effective teacher with her clear and helpful advice and keen observational skills. Her enthusiastic dancing intro in a pawpaw grove makes me smile every time.
As a reminder, eat only the pawpaw flesh. Do not eat the skin or seeds. The seeds are beautiful and make gorgeous jewelry beads. You can grow the seeds by being sure that they never dry out. If storing the seed for planting, keep it viable with storage in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.
My crop continues to be grown without pesticides, fungicides, and chemical fertilizer. The only input supplied to the trees is compost. It is not my intention to take advantage of scarcity and price gouge people that have a sincere interest in purchasing this fruit. Most of you are very nice people and have a strong interest in sustainable agriculture, unusual fruits, and local food. You are a crowd that I enjoy being with and can relate to easily.
I am humbled knowing that thanks to word of mouth and Google searches, I continue to receive several inquiries regarding the pawpaws. In 2021 I have received requests for fruit from Texas and Oregon. On September 11th, 2019, I had a lovely phone conversation with a pawpaw seeker from Long Island, New York. In 2018 I talked on the phone with a woman from Washington State. A wonderful couple from Quebec City stopped by to buy fruit. As an appreciation of thanks, I was sent a photo of my pawpaw with La Citadelle in the background. Many of you are willing to drive more than two hours in your quest to taste this amazing fruit. Please contact me before your long trek to Hardwick to make sure that I have ripe fruit available for you. I know that some of you have started to grow pawpaw trees in your yard and will eventually have your own crop. I realize that the attention I am getting will not last in the long term. As I explain in the paragraph below, my former colleagues at Worcester Polytechnic Institute use to tease me as The Pawpaw Queen. My reign will end when many more of you have your own productive pawpaw groves. I encourage of you to plant pawpaw trees, even if you live in a city. I know of a wonderful customer who is growing a tree on his patio in a large pot in Boston. I know other pawpaw fans that save seeds from fruit they eat and take them on hikes. Along the trail and near rivers, the seeds are planted. There are now established pawpaw trees in Monson, Massachusetts in areas that were devastated by a tornado in 2011.
Usually, my pawpaw trees that yield several buckets of fruit in autumn. I sell many pawpaws at the Hardwick Farmers Market. Contact Abbie before you make the trek to make sure fruit is available. Unannounced pawpaw seekers have come from as far away as Boston, Toronto, Schenectady, Shelburne Falls, Rockport, Providence, and Hartford. Sometimes these people have been terribly disappointed since unripe fruit is inedible and is best left on the trees.
In November 2011, the Boston TV show Chronicle featured the Town of Hardwick as a Mystery Town. With a previous web hosting service for Whitesfields Farm, I displayed a photo series showing Stan hypnotizing a rooster to a captive all ages audience at my sister’s house. The producer phoned and asked if this could be tourism feature on the show. With sensitivity to our public image, I suggested instead that pawpaw fruit was very cool and the TV crew was welcome to film me in front of my trees. I then quickly deleted the chicken photos. The Chronicle show was seen widely and Hardwick suddenly became a desirable destination. My colleagues at Worcester Polytechnic Institute changed my title on my office door from Lab Manager to The Pawpaw Queen. A professor in my department crafted precious Christmas gifts for me from pawpaw seeds that included a beautiful necklace that I wear when marketing the fresh fruits. I have since left employment at WPI. However, my identity as The Pawpaw Queen has stuck with me. I smile at my silly title.
My thoughts are based on pawpaw tree sourcing and cultivation experiences over the past 25 years. Here are the companies that I have ordered Asimina triloba trees from that are thriving in my yard now. I endorse the named and patented Peterson grafted cultivar varieties for the reasons of earlier maturity, larger fruit with smaller seeds, dwarfer status, and better flavor. The variety that has done really well for me is Shenandoah. However, this one can be in short supply. If you can find this grafted tree, I recommend it highly. You can save the seeds from the fruit you eat and grow them. Be sure to keep the seeds moist and cool until planting time. I keep mine in a small plastic bag in the refrigerator. The seeds germinate well in about a month at 70F when placed in damp germination soil. Large roots precede shoot growth. The plants have huge extensive root systems and hate transplanting. Try to situate young trees in a permanent location and water well to get them established. In the wild, these are understory trees near rivers. My trees grow fine in full sun. I fertilize my trees almost every year with composted manure. I recommend planting in the early spring. Be sure to water the trees water deeply and often. The roots are very thirsty in hot and dry weather. I have poor sandy soil and will let a hose run at the root zone for several hours during the summer. I have noticed that hot and dry weather during pollination can lead to premature dropping of young dessicated fruit clusters. I am now using a sprinkler to add humidity to the pawpaw grove during the pollination period.
Many of my pawpaws came from the grower Forest Keeling Nursery. They have provided me with fantastic customer service and great trees. One Green World has provided my brother-in-law and I with large healthy plants and excellent service. Burnt Ridge Nursery has really interesting offerings. Oikos Tree Crops has great prices and interesting edibles including various nut trees for sale. Raintree Nursery has been around for a long time and has many unusual landscape edibles. The quality is high as well prices. You will pay dearly for shipping from the West Coast. Tripple Brook Farm is a local business and the owner has a passion for pawpaw fruit. My first seedling derived pawpaw trees came from this wonderful business in Southampton MA in 1996.
My sister purchased very high quality pawpaw trees from Charlie West in New Jersey in October 2020. You can reach this grower through his website for West Farm Nursery.
My dear friend Ted has an excellent website with great information about pawpaw fruit. He is the greatest pawpaw enthusiast that I know. Ted and his family hike frequently and plant pawpaw seeds along the way. The pawpaw is a native tree that has lost many habitats over the centuries.
Pawpaw trees are very beautiful in landscapes. They are tidy and are very easy to grow organically. I love watching the banana like clusters of fruit develop from the gorgeous red flowers in May and June. Interestingly, the flowers begin as female with a receptive stigma and age to male with brown dust like pollen. Flies instead of bees pollinate flowers. I clean out my freezer and pantry every year to find fly attractants. This spring I lured flies to the trees with rancid pork sausages, canned squid, and past pull date menudo stew. While cross-pollination is very important, I have had fruit develop on a lone isolated tree. Again, please feel free to contact Abbie at email@example.com or text 413/813-8205 if you have questions about pawpaws.
Male flower showing that flies are important for pollination