History: Native to southern Ontario where it is considered a vulnerable species and the central United States, it is believed the range of these trees has shrunk with the extinction of megafauna that likely dispersed the seeds. These oddly tropical fruits have been cultivated by indigenous peoples and European colonizers alike, it is rumoured chilled pawpaw was George Washington's favourite dessert and Thomas Jefferson planted some at Monticello. Although popular among locals and with foragers, pawpaws have failed to achieve any kind of commercial success due to their poor keeping ability and oft difficult pollination.
Why We Grow It: The Pawpaw produces very unique fruit that has a distinct tropical banana/mango flavour and custard-like texture. As it oxidises fairly quickly once cut open, it is best eaten fresh once fully ripe or made into sauces, baked goods, ice cream, puddings, and curds. Pawpaws have a very slow growth habit and grow naturally as an under story tree, usually not reaching over 35 feet. We grow them from seed for increased hardiness compared to grafted stock.
Canadian Hardiness Zone: 5
Soil Preference: Prefers rich loam
Growth Habits: Tree usually reaches 11m but can get up to 14m tall
Sun/Shade: Partial shade to full sun (approx. 6-10 hours of sun daily), young trees are sensitive to full sunlight but adult trees produce more fruit with full sun
Pollination:Requires a pollinator, for optimal fruit production plant at least three trees