Paw Paws! This right here is a sight sure to bring a huge smile to Pa’s face. I gotta be honest with y’all here, this time of year he gets a little difficult to live with. Why? You ask? Well, because he has nothing but Paw Paws on his mind, knowing they are sure to be getting ripe and falling off the trees. There just ain’t no point in trying to converse with him at times, as he is so absorbed in thoughts and dreams of Paw Paws.
Pa had already made a trek into the Paw Paw forest that our dear friends allow us to harvest as many as we can carry out. With deer season fast approaching, we made another trip out to gather as many as we could. I thought I would take you on the journey with us. So, settle in and come along with us.
After driving a good thirty minutes, and parking the truck, we started our long haul down the path. Looky there on the right, do you see what I see?
Pa sees them too, he’s so excited.
Just look at all them! A whole mess of baby Paw Paw trees. Pa is already researching ways to transplant these babies.
But we aren’t even close to the Paw Paw forest, we must move on.
We have to go round the bend where you can see the river from the walkway.
Here is the entrance (or at least the one we used). Nothing like an archway of beautiful Paw Paw trees framing the way to utter deliciousness. At this point, we could smell them in the air, and promptly began to find several ripe fruit on the ground. As long as they weren’t covered in ants, we were harvesting all we could find.
I thought I would get you all a good shot of the bark of a Paw Paw tree. As you can see, they are not huge thick trees. We did run across some old timers that were a good six to ten inches in diameter, and probably a good fifty to sixty feet tall. This one is probably three to four inches in diamter, and tem to fifteen feet tall.
They have large leaves that fan out in an alternating pattern, and are quite tropical looking. I think they are beautiful.
Found along river bottoms, generally on the second step up is where you will find them.
When they are ripe, they will fall from the trees to the forest floor. This one has gone too far, poor little Paw Paw. How do you harvest them? Well, you give that tree a good shake and wait for the resounding thud thud thud as they hit the ground. Don’t make the mistake that I did, in looking up as you shake the tree. Them babies hurt when they hit you between the eyes if they are not quite ripe (they are quite hard). If, however, they are that perfect ripeness, soft and yellow, they will splatter all over your face.
I also used the pick pole, just a gentle tug, and if they fall into the basket, then we are talking. If they don’t want to fall right off the tree, then they need to ripen a bit longer.
Pa picked up this Paw Paw and said he thought he had just found the most perfect Paw Paw he had ever harvested, so I told him he best be getting a picture of it.
Snails like Paw Paws too. That’s okay, i let him have this one, as I filled my bag, while Pa wandered away to fill his five gallon bucket.
Unfortunately, sometimes when you shake a tree, the Paw Paw hits something unforgiving (other than my face, that is) and just splatters. So here’s some Paw Paw guts for you. Every Paw Paw has seeds, as you can see here. How’d ya like to put that in your pocket?
A couple that fell off the tree in tact. They are small, but they’ll eat just fine. Don’t ask about the arm, I AM accident prone, don’t ya know? Let’s just say I had a run in with one of the goats, and yeah, Brownie won that battle.
Deep in the canopy of the Paw Paw forest, where everything was dark and earthy, I spied a bright patch of orange and found these at the base of a huge old tree.
Here is a close up of them. Aren’t they gorgeous? I welcome any information anyone might know about this beautiful fungi.
Well, we picked and tromped, and tromped and picked until we had an overfull five gallon bucket and my bag full. I would guess we left the forest with no less than fifty pounds of Paw Paws. Thought I would give you one last look before we all head back to the farm.
Here’s a few of what we gathered. Keep a close watch on us, as my next post will be on how I processed all these beautiful Paw Paws.
And with that, I’m off!