Slow Food for Thought...

“Defending the earth means safeguarding biodiversity, the landscape and farming. Those who haven’t seen the importance of farming haven’t understood anything!”
Carlo Petrini, Founder of Slow Food

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's Pawpaw Season

This weekend, Lake Snowden will be hosting the 9th annual Pawpaw Festival, the biggest and best pawpaw celebration in the world. Join pawpaw fanatics from around the country at the peak of the season for a day filled with pawpaws, pawpaw foods, pawpaw beer, pawpaw music, pawpaw art, pawpaw history, pawpaw people and much more.

The Ninth Annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival will take place Saturday, September 15 & Sunday, September 16, 2007, at Lake Snowden near Albany, Ohio. The gates open at 10 a.m. on both days. The event costs $5.00 per person per day (or $8.00 for both days); kids 12 and under are free. Pets are permitted, but must be on a leash.

For more information on the 9th Annual Pawpaw Festival visit http://www.pawpawfest.com/.

What is a pawpaw?

The North American native pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is a temperate tree fruit in the mostly tropical custard apple family, Annonaceae. Pawpaw is also a common name for papaya (Carica papaya), a tropical fruit in the family Caricaceae. The two fruits are very different from each other, but some pawpaws do have a papaya-like flavor.

The pawpaw has also been added to Slow Food's USA Ark of Taste. For the pawpaw curious, here's more information from Slow Food USA's website...

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)
Though the pawpaw is generally unknown to the American public, it is the largest edible fruit native to the US. The fruit is indigenous to 26 states from northern Florida to Maine and west to Nebraska. Fossil records indicate that the papaw’s forebears established themselves in North America millions of years before the arrival of humans. American Indians extensively used the pawpaw and introduced it to European explorers. As a much loved fruit, European settlers named towns, creeks, and islands after the pawpaw. Today, pawpaws are primarily eaten in very rural areas, and most Americans only know of the fruit from the traditional folk song, "'Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch."

The pawpaw plant is found most commonly near riverbanks and in the understory of the rich eastern US forests. The Pawpaw has a creamy, custard-like flesh with a tropical flavor, which is often described as a combination of mango, pineapple, and banana. More than 50 commercial nurseries market pawpaw seeds or trees in the US. The pawpaw Foundation at Kentucky State University is actively working to revive the fruit by promoting scientific research in the areas of pawpaw breeding, growing, managing, harvesting, and use.


Where can YOU buy pawpaws?

We would of course encourage you to buy local pawpaws. And luckily, Southern Ohio is known to produce some of the best tasting pawpaws in the world! Fresh Ohio Valley grown pawpaws are available from August to October from Integration Acres in Albany, Ohio. To order, visit their website at http://www.integrationacres.com/. Integration Acres also produces a pawpaw jam, relish and chutney as well as a variety of other products.

Heritage Foods USA: Heritage Foods USA is offering Maryland grown pawpaws this season for delivery by September 21. For more information visit Heritage Foods USA website at http://www.heritagefoodsusa.com/.

And now you know all about pawpaws. If anyone makes it to the pawpaw festival please let us know. And if anyone is interested in participating in a group pawpaw order and/or tasting, email Kari at cafecinq@roadrunner.com. Maybe we can organize something in the next few weeks.

Keep in Touch!

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