While the “pawpaw” sounds like a deep-fried dessert or a nickname for your grandfather, it is actually the state fruit of Ohio. Also known as the “poor man’s banana” or “the tastiest fruit you’ve never heard of”, the pawpaw is the largest edible fruit native to the United States. It was a favorite dessert of founding fathers, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. While the fruit can be found throughout the Midwest, Southern, and Eastern United States, it is primarily harvested and commercialized in Southeastern Ohio. Due to the abundance and research of the pawpaw within the area, Athens County is considered the “Pawpaw Capital of the World”. Each year, the Ohio Pawpaw Growers’ Association sponsors the Pawpaw Festival at Albany’s Lake Snowden. The festival’s activities include a pawpaw cook-off, pawpaw beer tastings, and the best tasting pawpaw.
Photo via: Modern Farmer