Our First Paw Paw

So it’s past the mid-point of Summer, and you can start to see the days become shorter (just a little) and things are coming on strong in the garden and the weeds are making an effort to take over and rule the land (and in some cases, succeeding). At the start of the garden season it was very cold, then very wet, then hot – not really the best start for growing things. Because the Mad Farmer is a chaos gardener (more about that in future posts), he threw caution to the wind and planted Tomatoes (the diva of the garden), Cucumbers, and, because I’m a perpetual optimist, Squash (curses, you squash borers).

Tomatoes are doing great. A neighbor who doesn’t particularly care for tomatoes but is happy to watch us try, allowed us to plant along a shared chain-link fence line. Those tomatoes are going gang-busters. One Tatume (also called Calabacita) squash managed to put out one early squash and one fall squash (Sidenote: Tatume is an awesome squash and can be used when young just like a zucchini or yellow squash and if allowed to getter bigger can replace a butternut or winter squash). So overall, like normal in Zone 6a, hit or miss on a lot of what got planted.

The most positive thing (okay, I’m sure this isn’t a spoiler because of the title of the post) our very first Paw Paw fruit! The Farmer first tasted a Paw Paw at a Rocket Oven Kickstarter reward event that took place at Wheaton Labs. Michael Judd, the author of “For the Love of Paw Paws” sent a box of Paw Paws to Wheaton Labs in honor of Paul’s support for Michael’s Kickstarter. If you have never had a Paw Paw it’s hard to describe the taste. Most people describe it as a strawberry-banana custard, it’s pretty close to that but better in the Farmer or Miss Mercy’s opinion. Suffice it to say, it’s good. Why can’t you get it in the store? Because it’s ripe for about three days and then you are all done. It doesn’t travel well, but it is great in Ice Cream (ask us how we know)…

So, when are Paw Paw’s ripe you ask? Great Question, the best answer I’ve seen so far is “if you shake the tree and the fruit falls off” (thanks Nicole Sauce)! At our Urban Homestead we had to place a small nylon bag around the fruit to keep the squirrels from getting them all, so our first Paw Paw fell into the bag. Miss Mercy was pretty excited when she brought the first Paw Paw into the house.

Inside of our first Paw Paw

Size-wise it was not the biggest Paw Paw I have ever seen but it sure was cute. When we sliced it open and tried it the flavor was very good. We also got quite a few seeds, which the Farmer is going to stratify (cold storage in the fridge over winter) and plant in the spring to see if we can get some more Paw Paws to grow.

Overall, a great experiment and we liked it so much we planted two more for a total of five! I guess we are now Paw Paw people!

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