09/29/2014 10:28 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Pawpaws: America's New Artisanal Fruit

American Food Roots managing editor Bonny Wolf gets up close and personal with pawpaws, an alluring American fruit with a pedigree that involves luminaries from George Washington to the Hatfields and McCoys.


The other night, under cover of dark, I finally got my pawpaw delivery. A merchant at my local farmers market in Washington, D.C. brought me a box of pawpaws he got in Pennsylvania. "The problem with these pawpaws," he said, "is that the trees belong to the sister of the guy I get them from. He doesn't get along with his sister."

For a fruit that once literally grew on trees, you now need to know somebody who knows somebody. America's forgotten fruit, the best fruit you never ate -- the Indiana banana is hard to find. Its season is brief, lasting only from late August to mid-October, depending on climate. Pawpaws are grown at a few nurseries, at private homes and in the woods. They're rarely out in public because, unlike the fruit we're used to eating, pawpaws don't travel well.

To read more about the newest American artisanal fruit -- and for delicious recipes using it -- please visit American Food Roots.