Ever heard of the paw paw tree? It's a native fruit tree which produces green fruit which can weight up to a pound. Most of the fruit I harvest is much smaller than that.
The fruit was a favorite of Native Americans and early settlers. It's often called the Indiana banana because if it's creamy custard like, yellow flesh. I would say it tastes like a cross between a banana and a mango.
The fruit will turn a yellowish brown and get soft when ripe.
It's not the easiest to eat as paw paw seeds are big and they need to be removed. The seeds will retain some of the flesh, so I suck on them like candy.
Paw paw trees are easy to grow, but two are needed for pollination. it grows best as an understory tree reaching nearly 30 feet tall. They make suckers from the roots like crazy, but have a long tap root and are hard to transplant. My rule of thumb is to move five and assume three will not make it.
It blooms with insignificant purple flowers which are pollinated by flies not bees. Native Americans hung dead squirrels in the trees to attract pollinators. Although I don't use squirrels, I did put some older meat up near the trees this spring when the flowers started to open.
I've grown two trees for 10 years and the meat helped fruit production immensely. This was our best harvest.
I'm going to plant the seeds and see what happens. Check back, I might have a hundred or so seedlings to give a way. This week's Digging with Doug shows the trick to harvesting fruit which is way up in the tree.
If you're thinking of planting a cool fruit tree, think about paw paws. They are available at local nurseries and through online fruit tree catalogs.
Check out our harvest below.