North America’s Forgotten Fruit — the Pawpaw — is an excellent reminder that adventures in wild food are still available to us! Andrew Moore is here to share his journey seeking out the largest edible fruit native to the United States. In Andrew’s book Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit, he explores the past, present, and future of this unique fruit, traveling from the Ozarks to Monticello; canoeing the lower Mississippi in search of wild fruit; drinking pawpaw beer in Durham, North Carolina; tracking down lost cultivars in Appalachian hollers; and helping out during harvest season in a Maryland orchard. Along the way, he gathers pawpaw lore and knowledge not only from the plant breeders and horticulturists working to bring pawpaws into the mainstream (including Neal Peterson, known in pawpaw circles as the fruit’s own “Johnny Pawpawseed”), but also regular folks who remember eating them in the woods as kids, but haven’t had one in over fifty years.
Andrew’s hunt for the wild pawpaw led him on quite the adventure, and in this episode, he gives us the lowdown on the pawpaw, its history and its modern-day revival. We take a look at pawpaw culture and discuss how it’s being cultivated and used today. Andrew certainly inspired me to hunt down the wild pawpaw, and I hope you’ll consider pursuing a wild food adventure of your own in the new year! Enjoy, and I’ll see you next week for the final episode of our podcast season!