Promoting a fruit few have eaten

March 6, 2019
CFAES Impact Story on Pawpaw

Ohio’s little-known, native fruit might gain more notice soon.  

Excerpt from the March/April 2019 CFAES Impact for Ohioans.

Extension recently launched Marketing and Orchard Resource Efficiency (MORE) Ohio Pawpaw, a statewide, grant-funded effort that teaches farmers how to establish productive pawpaw orchards and find markets for the tropical-tasting fruit. Light green on the outside, a ripe pawpaw is about the size of a large potato. It tastes a little like a combination between banana, mango, and pineapple. It can also be soft like an avocado. Large black seeds have to be nudged out of a pawpaw before the light yellow fruit can be eaten. Though the fruit is not widely known, there’s a pocket of pawpaw fans in southern Ohio, where an annual festival features pawpaw gelato, pawpaw chutney, pawpaw wine, and even pawpaw beer. “I liked pawpaws a lot better the second time I tried them,” said Sarah Francino, a Ohio’s little-known, native fruit might gain more notice soon. CFAES master’s degree student who has tasted and tested many varieties to try to help Ohio farmers determine the best ones to raise and sell. If you’re not keen on how pawpaws taste, you might still be drawn to pawpaw trees for their bright yellowness in the fall, she said. “If you let them grow in the open, in full sun, they form a beautiful pyramid,” said Francino. Francino is working for MORE Ohio Pawpaw, which is spearheaded by Matt Davies, a CFAES assistant professor, and Brad Bergefurd, an Extension horticulture specialist. Read the full story on MORE Ohio Pawpaw on page 3 here.