North America's Forgotten Fruit - Andrew Moore #177

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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!

EPISODE BREAKDOWN:

  • Show Introduction
  • Introducing Andrew Moore
  • How Andy became acquainted with the pawpaw
  • What is a pawpaw?
  • The history
  • The pawpaw revival
  • Uncovering the mystery of the pawpaw
  • The varying personalities in pawpaw culture
  • Historical cultivation and use of pawpaw
  • Growing pawpaw
  • Origins of the name
  • Hunting the wild pawpaw
  • Where to find Andrew

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Meet Andrew

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Andrew Moore grew up in Lake Wales, Florida, just south of the pawpaw’s native range. A writer and gardener, he now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was the news editor and a feature writer for Pop City, a weekly news e-magazine in Pittsburgh, and his stories have been published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Daily Yonder, and the Biscayne Times. Pawpaw is his first book.