Ever Had Pawpaw? Where You Might Find the Fruit in Kalamazoo
Sure, there's a town in SW Michigan named Paw Paw. But, have you ever tried the fruit?
Native to Michigan, the Pawpaw fruit is said to taste like a mix of mango, banana, and pineapple. And, it's the only tropical fruit that's naturally occurring in the area. Because it's a tropical fruit, its season is very short. Generally, you can find them from September to early October. Read more here.
But, where can you find it?
It was a question recently posed on Kalamazoo's Reddit by u/agoss123b who asked,
Anyone had any luck finding pawpaw tress aka Michigan banana? They should be ripe soon and I'm wondering if anyone knows any places to look.
Now, there are no guarantees that the below suggestions will lead you to some fresh Pawpaw fruit but, here's what a few locals suggested:
1. Schultz Fruitridge Farms in Mattawan. Maybe.
U/amdaly10 said, "Pawpaws are hard to sell because they go bad quickly. Schultz's in Mattawan has a handful of trees but they don't necessarily sell them every year. You might be able to call up and ask to pick some?"
Finding local farms that carry Pawpaw might not be easy but, it's worth a phone call if you're really craving them, right? You can find the contact information for Schultz Fruitridge Farms here.
U/KzooCreep wrote, "If you don’t care about foraging them yourself, I’ve seen them at PFC before."
If you're someone who knows how to forage, more power to you. That's an incredible skill to master. But, if you prefer going to the store to browse their selection of fruit, PFC Natural Grocery and Deli in Kalamazoo might be a good option. They tend to focus on carrying locally grown food. Again, it would probably be a good idea to contact them ahead of time to see if pawpaw is available at their store. Find their information here.
As well, u/Oberon89 wrote, "If you don't luck out finding them in the wild I have seen them at the farmer's market occasionally." The Kalamazoo Farmers Market, now on Bank Street, is open on Saturday mornings from 7 am to 2 pm from May to November 19th. Additionally, there are market days on Tuesdays and Thursdays. While you can't call ahead to see what's available, browsing the selection at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market is well worth the trip. Find more information here.
3. In the Wild
Now, this will probably be the most challenging choice. Especially, if this is your first time looking for the Pawpaw tree.
U/alwen gave a few suggestions saying,
Check along any rail-to-trail near you, I know I've seen them in a couple of spots along the Kal-Haven trail. There's another group of trees on the west edge of Bangor on M43, where it goes over a creek, down along the creek side. I keep meaning to get down there and check what the fruit set looks like, but I only seem to think about it as I'm driving past them.
U/SnooShortcuts7667 also chimed in with,
There is a paw paw tree by the post office in Paw Paw that had lots of fruit on it last year. I grabbed a couple, as I was interested in trying them as well! I think they should be ripe later next month
Out of an abundance of caution, I would urge you to make sure that the tree you're picking from isn't on any private property before collecting your fruit.
If you need tips on spotting the trees, what the fruit actually looks like, or when the best time is to pick them, check out this video from the Youtube channel Learn Your Land:
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