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Blog - Paw paw

Common Pawpaw

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Introducing the amazing Paw paw, Indian Banana -  Asimina triloba, Paw paw fruit seems like it doesn't belong up in Ontario Canada, that it really should be growing in the tropics (varieties do grow all up and down the continent). The consistency is like that of a creamy custard and has a flavour reminiscent of banana, mango, pear, and papaya. It is a unique uncommon and lovely autumn fruit everyone should try once. 

Truly remarkable unique and elusive, paw paw will be sure to amaze your senses and will be quickly added to your list of fall delights. If you can get a hold of any. Few people know about this treasure and even fewer have tasted it. 

Paw paw grows on small shrub like trees and comes in a number of slightly different varieties, as they ripen from green to yellow and then bruised with large black spots with yellowing, the flavour and sweetness intensifies to something similar to a caramel custard. The fruit is not without its drawbacks, it doesnt travel well the time between unripe and really ripe can be a matter of days and the flavour has an arch. Gowing from banana like to fruity and creamy on to caramel like with hints of potassium. Just like with Bananas some people like them totally blackened, other prefer them when they become soft to the touch, just as they begin to yellow. 


Paw paw are an interesting plant in that they do not rely on typical pollinators to breed, rather the flowers attract carrion insects in search for some rotting meat. People who grow Paw paw have been known to hang chunks of meat in the shrubs to help attract insects and increase pollination. Paw paw is also home to both the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly larvae and the Pawpaw sphinx moth larvae. The glorious Asimina triloba tree grows across much of North America edging forests and on fertile land. The plants take from 5 to 7 years to start producing fruit, and like most fruit trees with have great years and disappointing ones. As they mature they will send out other shoots nearby and develop into a grove. If you want to spread out and expand or transplant any of the new young plants, use a shovel (in spring) to separate the tap root connecting it to the mother and leave it in place for a year. It will then be ready to be transplanted the following spring. 


Paw paw is the largest native berry to North America, and the only of its species, of its kind, to not be confined to the tropics. While the yummy fruit is relatively low maintenance to grow and resistant to many bugs, the fruit does not travel well and when ripe, does not look the prettiest, thus is has never had great commercial success and as a result it has largely been forgotten.  

We do sell pawpaw when we can, some years we get 20 lbs other years 200 lbs, we have only a few limited sources for this fantastic fruit but have been working with fruit growers to set up more pawpaw groves. If you are interested in growing Pawpaw we also take pre-orders for pawpaw seedlings. Please note they can take several years before fruiting and we only sell seedlings in pairs as more than one plant is needed for pollination. Please email forbes@wildfoods.ca with Pawpaw in the subject line for any pawpaw related inquiries. If you have pawpaw growing in Ontario and you would like to get it to market, get seed to plant more or trade fruits to taste the differences in varieties, please give us a call 1-877-354-9453 


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