The Forgotten Fruit: The Paw Paw Makes A Comeback - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

The Forgotten Fruit: The Paw Paw Makes A Comeback

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It's often called the forgotten fruit. Some locals have a little trouble recognizing it. The paw paw is found in 26 states, including native West Virginia.

Paw paw grower Larry Harris stumbled across the paw paw plant over two decades ago.

"We moved into our home in 1992, and there were paw paw trees in the backyard," said Harris.

Harris has been busy ever since, especially this time of year during a very short harvesting season (between the end of August to the beginning of October).

Paw paws are a very fragile fruit with a short shelf life which may be one reason why they don't enjoy the same popularity as apples or bananas.

Could paw paws be making a comeback? Well, according to Andrew Moore, author of Paw Paw: In Search of America's Forgotten Fruit, it is. The buzz is growing about it too. Many paw paw enthusiasts  blog here to find the latest and greatest about the fruit.

 

"It seems that interest (in the paw paw) has returned, at the least staying interest," said Moore. "As for the hopes for the paw paw industry and products, it's hard to predict, but the fruit stands on its own and is unique."

The growing popularity of paw paws is good news for both consumers and farmers.

"At farmer's markets, it's gaining interest. And it's a high earner and a good crop for paw paw farmers," said Moore.

There are also new, creative treats and recipes made with paw paws like salsas and beer to name a few.

"Ice cream is certainly proven to be a winner," said Moore. "It's one avenue to gain even more interest (in the paw paw market)."

That's already happening here in Charleston, West Virginia, Harris and other paw paw growers supply paw paws for Ellen's Ice Cream shop. It's been a treat for locals for the last 18 years.

"People all year long will come to me and say, do you have the paw paw ice cream? And I say only in the fall when the paw paws are getting ripe," said Ellen Beal, owner of Ellen's Ice Cream.

Pap paw ice cream goes on sale September 30th.

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