When people think of foods native to the Baltimore area, a few readily come to mind: Crabs, of course, and oysters. Silver Queen corn. Soybeans, perhaps.
Pawpaws belong on that list, too. The intriguing — and somewhat ugly — green fruit isn’t as well-known as some of Maryland’s other crops, but it has a long history in the region. And thanks to the efforts of local farmers, chefs, nonprofits and city programs, it’s become the fruit of the moment in Baltimore.
Pawpaw seekers can find the fruit at local farms and farmers markets this month, or forage for ripe pawpaws grown on public land.
Baltimore Orchard Project maintains a tree registry on its website with local foraging. Planting coordinator Eric Sargent also suggests fallingfruit.org as a useful resource for finding public land open to foragers.
Together with TreeBaltimore, the city’s tree-planting program, Baltimore Orchard Project encourages locals to plant pawpaw trees of their own. The two organizations partner to host biannual tree fairs, which include giveaways of native fruit trees.
“There will be pawpaw [trees] there for the first 100 people who want them” at the fall Fruit Tree Fair in Druid Hill Park on Oct. 28, says TreeBaltimore manager Charles Murphy. The organizations will also be giving away other native trees and teaching those who take them about maintenance and care.
Check out the full story by Kit Waskom Pollard on the Baltimore Sun. Photo credit Karl Merton Ferron.