Tree Pittsburgh’s Pawpaw Fest — introducing pawpaws to dinner tables once again

 In Pawpaw Fest, Trees

On Sat­ur­day Sep­tem­ber 23, Tree Pitts­burgh’s annu­al Arbor Aid fundrais­er is fea­tur­ing some­thing new and nev­er seen before in Pitts­burgh — a Paw­paw Festival!

This mys­te­ri­ous fruit, while unknown to many, is the largest native edi­ble fruit in Amer­i­ca. Found in decid­u­ous forests across the east­ern Unit­ed States, paw­paw trees were once com­mon­ly for­aged by Native Amer­i­cans and ear­ly explor­ers. In fact many of our found­ing fathers, like George Wash­ing­ton and Thomas Jef­fer­son, were fond of paw­paws. Even Lewis and Clark relied on paw­paws as a food source dur­ing their expe­di­tion out west.

How­ev­er, once Amer­i­can soci­ety became estab­lished and mod­ern agri­cul­ture became more preva­lent, Amer­i­cans stopped for­ag­ing for food. Unfor­tu­nate­ly this led to paw­paws being brand­ed as “Amer­i­ca’s for­got­ten fruit”…until now.

As pop­u­lar­i­ty for native edi­bles and for­ag­ing grows, Amer­i­cans are begin­ning to rein­tro­duce paw­paws to their din­ner tables once again. These days it is pos­si­ble to find paw­paws at local farm­ers mar­kets and gro­cery stores. Many orchards grow them and sell them across the coun­try — allow­ing all to expe­ri­ence the paw­paw! As a mat­ter of fact, it is pos­si­ble to find paw­paw trees in parks and along many streets in Pittsburgh.

Paw­paws are har­vest­ed in late sum­mer and enjoyed for their deli­cious fla­vor. Paw­paws are sweet and cus­tard-like, many describ­ing the taste as a cross between a man­go and a banana — mak­ing them per­fect for a vari­ety of recipes includ­ing ice cream, pies, cus­tards, mari­nades, vinai­grettes, bar­be­cue sauces, even alco­hol! With this unique fruit the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less. Filled with vit­a­mins, min­er­als, healthy fats, antiox­i­dants, and amino acids paw­paws aren’t just good, they’re good for you.

Want to learn more about this native fruit? Come to Tree Pitts­burgh’s Arbor Aid and Paw­paw Fest to expe­ri­ence the mag­nif­i­cent paw­paw for your­self! There will be a vari­ety of paw­paw relat­ed speak­ers, food, games, and prod­ucts for every­one to enjoy.

Be sure to vis­it Arbor Aid 2017 and fol­low Tree Pitts­burgh on Face­book, as well as the Arbor Aid and Paw­paw Fest event page for more infor­ma­tion and updates.

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