Ohio’s Native Fruit

Many people know some fun facts about the state of Ohio. The buckeye is the state tree, cardinal the state bird, and the trillium the state wildflower. What most people may not know, however, is Ohio’s state fruit: the pawpaw. The pawpaw is North America’s largest native fruit, although the “tree” is really a large shrub growing no taller than 35-40 feet high. The fruit has a mildly sweet, banana-like taste and texture. Some say it tastes like a cross between a mango and a banana (you’ll just have to try for yourself!) Athens, Ohio just happens to be home to the biggest pawpaw festival around. Usually celebrated the second weekend of September, people come from all over to try pawpaw flavored food and drink, listen to live music, view and purchase handmade craft items, and enjoy the festive atmosphere. My roommate and I ventured out there today to check it out. This morning it was cloudy and chilly, but it turned out to be a beautiful fall day. The festival had grown since last year, and we spent a couple hours just walking around looking at all of the craft vendors. Snowville Creamery was giving out samples of pawpaw ice cream, it was delicious! JackieO’s had pawpaw beer (among other craft beers) for sale, as well as pawpaw soda. We didn’t want to leave because we we’re having such a good time. The festival is still going on tomorrow, so head out to Lake Snowden if you have the chance! For an interesting article about pawpaws, visit http://www.eattheweeds.com/pawpawpanache-2/Pawpaw-fruit Pawpaw fruit has a creamy texture (photo from wikipedia) paw-paw-fruits The pawpaw fruit as it looks on a tree (photo from earthweeds.com)