Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley


May 03, 2023 08:12PM ● By Bear Creek Organics

Pickin’ up pawpaws, put ‘em in your pocket.

Pickin’ up pawpaws, put ‘em in your pocket.

Pickin’ up pawpaws, put ‘em in your pocket.

Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch.

When I sang that song as a child, I had no idea what a pawpaw was. I had never seen one in the wild. I’d never seen the fruit for sale in the store.  It remained a mystery fruit until I got into edible landscaping.  

The Paw paw tree is the only tropical tree to have escaped the tropics!  One look at its leaves and growth habit and you’d think somebody plucked it straight out of the Amazon Rainforest. Only this tree is native to our area and has adapted to our temperate climate growing wild in the woods of the eastern United States. 

Oh the fruit! The Paw Paw fruit is the largest native fruit that can be found in all of North America. The large green skinned fruit grows in clusters with individual fruit weighing over one pound.  When you cut the fruit open a beautiful orange to yellow custard pulp is exposed. Most describe the flavor as banana and mango combined, with after tones of pineapple, strawberry, or vanilla. 

According to Michael Judd, author and edible landscaper: 

Nutritionally speaking, pawpaws are vitamin-packed antioxidant powerhouses—the original super fruit! Pawpaw protein contains all essential amino acids in contents higher than that of apples, bananas, or oranges. Full of vital vitamins and minerals, exceeding peaches, grapes and apples.  It is exceptionally high in potassium, calcium, vitamin C, niacin, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium.  High in antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids.

Wow! That’s impressive. 

No spray tree!  Some fruit trees can be persnickety here in PA, but not the pawpaw.  It is native to the woods in our region and so grows well for the backyard orchardist.  Once established, the Paw Paw is a ‘no spray tree’.  It’s leaves carry a mild toxin so it basically has no pest or other disease issues unlike most backyard fruit trees.  It’s also very deer resistant. 

Grow your own! So you want to eat some Paw Paws?  Your best bet is to grow them yourself. Just know what genetics you are planting.  Wild type trees can have very small fruit filled with seeds whereas some commercial cultivars have huge tasty fruit with less seeds. 

Are you ready to give it a try?  Contact Richie Mitchell from Bear Creek Organics. He has a wide selection of paw paws ready to plant this fall.  He carries healthy Paw Paw seedlings with the best genetics for large and tasty fruit quality.  To get some Paw Paw trees visit and fill out the ‘Contact Us” section at the bottom of the page.