Seeds or Fresh
Fresh Paw Paws have a very narrow season and extremely short shelf life. This is the main reason you will not find them in your regular grocery store. Known as the Kentucky Banana, the West Virginia Banana, Tennessee Banana, Indiana Banana.... this tropical taste blend of Banana and Mango is native to the Appalachian Mountains.
in late summer and early fall the bountiful pawpaw trees here on the farm are laden with "the long forgotten" fruit. it is our habit to harvest the pawpaws by the half bushel and after we have secured enough for our own stores, we take them to the farmers markets to re-introduce them to our west virginian customer base. while ripe paw paws are not much to look at with their patchy brown and yellow skins, the fruit is met with curiosity by those who have never seen or heard of them, and greeted with delight by those who remember gathering them in their youth.
after eating his fill of fresh paw paw, gianni has pureed and frozen the remainder to consume as a frozen desert --which is sometimes complimented with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. gianni loves the taste of paw paw and describes it as appalachia's "native tropical fruit". i don't much care for the paw paws sweet flavor which is likened to a cross between mangos and ripe banana's but i do like wine, so this year we have decided to turn our surplus paw paws into a batch of wine which reportedly makes a delectable brandy wine.
Seed Propagation information from Kentucky State University
Pawpaw seed is slow to germinate, but it is not difficult to grow seedlings if certain procedures are followed. Do not allow the seed to freeze or dry out, because this can destroy the immature, dormant embryo. If seeds are dried for 3 days at room temperature, the germination percentage can drop to less than 20%. To break dormancy, the seed must receive a period of cold, moist stratification for 70-100 days. This may be accomplished by sowing the seed late in the fall and letting it overwinter; the seed will germinate the following year in late July to late August. Another way is to stratify the seed in the refrigerator (32o- 40o F/0o- 4o C). In this case the cleaned seed should be stored in a plastic ziplock bag with a little moist sphagnum moss to keep the seed moist and suppress fungal and bacterial growth. After stratification the seed should be sown 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep in a well-aerated soil mix, pH 5.5-7, with an optimum temperature of 75o- 85oF (24o- 29o C). Use tall containers, such as tree pots (ht. 14"-18"/35-45 cm) or root trainers (ht. 10"/25 cm), to accommodate the long taproot. The seed will normally germinate in 2-3 weeks, and the shoot will emerge in about 2 months. Germination is hypogeal: the shoot emerges without any cotyledons. For the first two years, growth is slow as the root system establishes itself, but thereafter it accelerates. Trees normally begin to bear fruit when the saplings reach 6 feet, which usually requires five to eight years.
The Paw Paw does not pollinate well via bee or butterfly, they need the bottle fly which also digs dead things. So one of the best way to insure your Paw Paws bare fruit is to drop road kill or other dead varmints near the base of flowering trees.
Fresh Paw Paw $6/pound
or 10 Seeds $5