This Wednesday, October 8, I’ll be making my annual pilgrimage to Cornell’s paw paw orchard in Lansing for a tasting tour along with several area paw paw enthusiasts (van shuttle will leave CCE Tompkins, 615 Willow Ave in Ithaca promptly at 3:40. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat.) This free tour will explore the two acre planting of North America’s largest native fruit and folks will be welcome to try the collection of 28 varieties and take some home too. Planted in cooperation with the University of Kentucky in 1999, the paw paw orchard has largely flown under the radar. Now that paw paws are gaining in popularity, it’s a great time to taste these magical fruits.
For me, this golden fleshed jem has held an almost mystical grasp on my psyche. I had several dreams about paw paws last year before our last tour. I have planted several over the years and last year got my first big crop from some trees I planted in downtown Ithaca back in 2005. Now almost 20’ high, the largest of these is an iconic reminder to me of my passion for unusual and lesser-known edibles. Several have been planted in Ithaca’s Permaculture Park Project including one planted during our ribbon cutting by Mayor Svante Myrick. The hope is that over the coming decade, these plantings will help the paw paw become more mainstream, at least in our small corner of the world, and gain the notoriety it deserves.
Here is a paper with great information about paw paw research and commercial production with some references and details on nurseries who carry trees: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/438/438-105/438-105_pdf.pdf
Have you ever thought of growing pawpaws? Cornell Cooperative Extension of Seneca County is offering a Pawpaw Production Workshop on Thursday evening, November 6, 2014 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. The workshop will be held at Vince’s Park at the intersection of Rt 314 and Rts 5+20 in Seneca Falls, NY.
Steven Gabriel, from The Cornell Small Farms Program and owner of Wellspring Forest Farm in Mecklenburg NY will be the presenter. Steve has recently co-authored a book called “Farming the Woods” with Cornell professor Ken Mudge. The workshop will cover various topics related to growing pawpaws including pawpaw management, site selection and sourcing pawpaw trees. You can read up at Steve’s blog here: http://farmingthewoods.com/2013/10/04/paw-paw-perfection/
The fee is $15.00 per family. Registration is required. Space is limited so register early! To register or for additional information, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension at 315-539-9251 or email: email@example.com or register online at:
CCE Tompkins will provide a free shuttle from Ithaca but space is limited, so reserve your seat as soon as you are registered for the class by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org