Abbie is updating this page on November 11, 2018. I apologize for not editing more frequently. However, I feel that my time and energy is better spent with the soil and plants instead of sitting in front of a laptop. The pawpaw harvest was completed on November 10th. Overall, the damp weather for fruit growing was truly awful this year. Despite the lateness of ripening this year, I produced high quality pawpaw fruit. My crop continues to be grown without pesticides, fungicides, and chemical fertilizer. The only input supplied to the trees is compost. It is not my attention to take advantage of scarcity and price gouge people that have a sincere interest in purchasing this fruit. Most of you are very nice people and have a strong interest in sustainable agriculture, unusual fruits, and local food. You are a crowd that I enjoy being with and can relate to easily.
In summary, several inquiries have come to me this year via phone calls, texts, and e-mails. I have created a spreadsheet to keep track of all the requests. As a consequence I am doing my best to supply fruit to all of you. Many of you express interest in visiting the pawpaw grove. Sadly, I can not offer an open invitation at the present time. I am employed full time at Worcester State University. Generally, I need my Saturdays to nurture myself with gardening activities and connecting with the earth. Please contact me in August or September of 2019 if you want to received pawpaw harvest date information e-mails from me.
I am humbled knowing that thanks to word of mouth and Google searches, I continue to receive several inquiries regarding the pawpaws. In the spring of 2018 I talked on the phone with a woman from Washington State requesting a shipment of the upcoming crop. A wonderful couple from Quebec City stopped by to buy fruit. As an appreciation of thanks, I was sent a photo of my pawpaw with La Citadelle in the background. Many of you are willing to drive more than two hours in your quest to taste this amazing fruit. Please contact me before your long trek to Hardwick to make sure that I have ripe fruit available for you. I know that some of you have started to grow pawpaw trees in your yard and will eventually have your own crop. I realize that the attention I am getting will not last in the long term. As I explain in the paragraph below, my former colleagues at Worcester Polytechnic Institute use to tease me as The Pawpaw Queen. My reign will end when many more of you have your own productive pawpaw groves. I encourage of you to plant pawpaw trees, even if you live in a city. I know of a wonderful customer who is growing a tree on his patio in a large pot in Boston. I know other pawpaw fans that save seeds from fruit they eat and take them on hikes. Along the trail and near rivers, the seeds are planted. There are now established pawpaw trees in Monson, Massachusetts in areas that were devastated by a tornado in 2011.
Abbie has grown pawpaw trees that yield several buckets of fruit in autumn. She sells pawpaws at the Hardwick Farmers Market. Contact her before you make the trek to make sure fruit is available. Unannounced pawpaw seekers have come from as far away as Boston, Toronto, Schenectady, Shelburne Falls, Rockport, Providence, and Hartford. Sometimes these people have been terribly disappointed since unripe fruit is best left on the trees.
In November 2011, the Boston TV show Chronicle featured the Town of Hardwick as a Mystery Town. With a previous web hosting service for Whitesfields Farm, I displayed a photo series showing Stan hypnotizing a rooster to a captive all ages audience at my sister’s house. The producer phoned and asked if this could be tourism feature on the show. With sensitivity to our public image, I suggested instead that pawpaw fruit was very cool and the TV crew was welcome to film me in front of my trees. I then quickly deleted the chicken photos. The Chronicle show was seen widely and Hardwick suddenly became a desirable destination. My colleagues at Worcester Polytechnic Institute changed my title on my office door from Lab Manager to The Pawpaw Queen. A professor in my department crafted precious Christmas gifts for me from pawpaw seeds that included a beautiful necklace that I wear when marketing the fresh fruits. I have since left employment at WPI. However, my identity as The Pawpaw Queen has stuck with me.
My thoughts are based on pawpaw tree sourcing and cultivation experiences over the past 20 years. Here are the companies that I have ordered Asimina triloba trees from that are thriving in my yard now. I endorse the named and patented Peterson grafted cultivar varieties for the reasons of earlier maturity, larger fruit with smaller seeds, dwarfer status, and better flavor. The variety that has done really well for me is Shenandoah. However, this one can be in short supply. If you can find this grafted tree, I recommend it highly. You can save the seeds from the fruit you eat and grow them. Be sure to keep the seeds moist and cool until planting time. I keep mine in a small plastic bag in the refrigerator. The seeds germinate well in about a month at 70F when placed in damp germination soil. Large roots precede shoot growth. The plants have huge extensive root systems and hate transplanting. Try to situate young trees in a permanent location and water well to get them established. In the wild, these are understory trees near rivers. My trees grow fine in full sun. I fertilize my trees almost every year with composted manure.
Many of my pawpaws have recently come from the grower Forest Keeling Nursery. They have provided me with fantastic customer service and great trees. I see that they still have Shenandoah in inventory. I gifted one to my sister recently. I would recommend planting in the early spring. Be sure to water the trees water deeply and often. The roots are very thirsty in hot and dry weather. I have poor sandy soil and will let a hose run at the root zone for several hours during the summer. I am linking to their wholesale and retail websites.
One Green World has provided my brother-in-law and I with large healthy plants and excellent service.
Burnt Ridge Nursery has really interesting offerings and low prices. However, the plants are smaller compared to other mail order nurseries. Some have died and others continue to thrive at my place. These two trees are very special to me, Nikita's Gift persimmon (D. kaki x virginiana) grafted and Aromatnaya quince (Cydonia oblonga) grafted. Sadly, the Nikita's barely survived winter. In contrast, the Meader Persimmon tree is well established and usually produces hundreds of fruit every year.
Oikos Tree Crops has great prices and interesting edibles including various nut trees for sale.
Raintree Nursery has been around for a long time and has many unusual landscape edibles. The quality is high as well prices. You will pay dearly for shipping from the West Coast.
Tripple Brook Farm is a local business and the owner has a passion for pawpaw fruit. My first seedling derived pawpaw trees came from this small company in Southampton MA in 1996.
My dear friend Ted has an excellent website with great information about pawpaw fruit. He is the greatest pawpaw enthusiast that I know. Ted and his family hike frequently and plant pawpaw seeds along the way. The pawpaw is a native tree that has lost many habitats over the centuries.
As you can see from my photos, pawpaw trees are very beautiful in landscapes. They are tidy and are very easy to grow organically. I love watching the banana like clusters of fruit develop from the gorgeous red flowers in May and June. Interestingly, the flowers begin as female with a receptive stigma and age to male with brown dust like pollen. There are great photos here at the Apios Institute. While cross-pollination is very important, I have had fruit develop on a lone isolated tree. Again, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about pawpaws.