Dear Pawpaw Fruit Seekers,
To date, I have ripe pawpaws from only a Shenandoah tree. In the past, this tree has been completely harvested by mid-September! The majority of pawpaws can not be harvested yet. They are very unripe and hard to the touch.
Nationwide reports tell me that this is a difficult year for pawpaws. The late cold spring has delayed ripening and reduced yield. At this time, I can not fulfill requests for large numbers of ripe pawpaws. If you wish to buy only a few and can come to the Hardwick Farmers Market on Sunday 11-2 , please contact me. I will not be at the Hardwick Farmers Market on October 13th. If you have already reached out to me, go ahead and followup with a message that you are willing to come to and will be content with a one or two pawpaws. I will set these aside for you for Sunday.
As a grower, I hope to provide you with the opportunity to taste this delicious and fragrant fruit. There are challenges including a slow ripening season for this year. Also, the fruit needs to stay on the tree until mature. Once picked, a pawpaw has a short shelf life and bruises easily. I am hoping that we communicate and agree on mutual time for me to provide you with pawpaws. Some of you express interest in visiting the pawpaw grove in the backyard of my home. Sadly, I cannot offer an open invitation. My preferred venue is the Hardwick Farmers Market on the Hardwick Common on Sundays from 11-2. I know that many of you have e-mailed and texted me from far away. Please let me know if you are truly willing to come to Hardwick so that I can make sure to have fruit set aside for you. The majority of fruit will mature in late October. I will try my best to provide you with a satisfying experience with this wonderful fruit.
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 attention 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. One September 11th, 2019, I had a lovely phone conversation with a pawpaw seeker from Long Island, New York. Last year I talked on the phone with a woman from Washington State requesting a shipment of the upcoming crop. 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 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.
My thoughts are based on pawpaw tree sourcing and cultivation experiences over the past 23 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.
Many of my pawpaws have recently come from the grower Forest Keeling Nursery. They have provided me with fantastic customer service and great trees. I see that they still have Shenandoah in inventory. I gifted one to my sister recently. I would 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 am linking to their wholesale and retail websites.
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 small company in Southampton MA in 1996.
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. Google images can help you see the difference. 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.