Pining for Pawpaws: Ohio’s State Fruit is in Season Now

Two ripe pawpaws are ready to be picked from the tree.

When you think fall in Ohio, you probably think about leaves falling, carving pumpkins and having backyard bonfires. But there’s another Ohio fall tradition that’s a little lesser-known – and harder to find – pawpaws!

Ohio’s largest native fruit is ripe now, but blink and you may miss it! These green, oblong fruits ripen and then quickly spoil in Hamilton County within a period of two to three weeks in early fall each year. For this reason, they are difficult to commercially produce, so you likely won’t find them at your local grocery store chain. Usually, Great Parks is excited to host events during pawpaw season each year, but 2020’s pandemic has forced us to forego those events this fall.

But there are ways to sample pawpaws. Scope out your local farmers markets, as some farmers cultivate a few trees to have small batches each fall. While our Local Food Connection pickup at Parky’s Farm is temporarily unavailable right now, Local Food Connection is delivering farm fresh food straight to your door. Simply place an order on Local Food Connection’s website. And in the age of social media, neighborhood social media apps – like Facebook or Nextdoor – can be a source for neighbors who harvest trees on their property to sell (or give out for free!) to family, friends and neighbors.

If you do get your hands on some, you’ll want to try some of our favorite recipes:

Want to learn more about this unique fruit? Check out our Facebook Live broadcast from last week, when we sampled a few and ventured into the forest at Sharon Woods to check out a patch of pawpaw trees.

Nikki Ferrell, Social Media Strategist