Channeling The Jungle Book!

Week 6—  and we’ve got over 1,500 votes for Hilltop Hanover Farm to win an entire orchard.  Even a small group can win if all their members continue to vote daily.  We need another 500 votes before the peas are done—by the end of June.   Every day, make sure to:

Go to the Communities Take Root website www.communitiestakeroot.com

  • Register once or log in, if already registered
  • Scroll down the page and find “NY”—you’ll see Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm—
  • Click Vote!  Then collect your coupon for $1.00 off Edy’s fruit bars
  • Put “Vote!” in your Outlook, daily minder, or calendar so you don’t forget!

 

Quick—what’s  America’s largest native fruit tree? 

Nope, not apple and not orange.  It’s the paw paw. It’s not surprising if you’ve never heard of it, though it is mentioned in the movie The Jungle Book!  Much more common in the Midwest and South, the paw paw can even be found growing in zone 5—that includes parts of Maine and Michigan.  It’s known as the banana fruit for its almost tropical custardy texture.  You eat it by peeling of the leathery greenish/brown skin, discarding the seeds and eating the smooth creamy inside.   The taste?  A little like a banana, mango and melon combo.   They ripen in August/September, and you can eat them straight up, make ice cream, exotic drinks or even bake with them.   (If you think zucchini bread taste good, just think what you can do with paw paws!)   They don’t hold too long-a few days on the counter or maybe a week in the refrigerator, so scoop out the good parts and freeze or dry.  They also don’t ship well, so unless you see them at your farmer’s market or grow them yourself, the hardest part will be finding them.


The tree itself is an understory type of tree, of medium size with large elongated leaves and pretty flowers.   A little tricky to transplant due to its long tap root, it’s definitely worth seeking out.  The named varieties are larger and generally taste better than unnamed seedlings.  These include Davis, Overleese, PA Golden, Susquehanna, Sunflower and Shenandoah.   Pests and disease (and even deer!) don’t seem to bother the paw paw, so that’s a big plus for organic growers.  This long-ignored fruit has been gathering considerable attention in recent years, with Kentucky State University in the forefront of research and development.  You can check out their website for culture and information.

Next week we’ll talk about possibly the most decorative fruit in any orchard—persimmons, both astringent and non-astringent.   Until then, keep voting each day–

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