Pawpaws are fruit trees native to North America. They grow in many states including North Carolina
The fruit’s skin can vary from yellow to green to dark brown, and the pulp’s taste is often described as tropical or a combination of mango-banana-pineapple
Chefs and farmers are working to bring back the popularity of pawpaws by introducing it to customers and using it in innovative recipes
Chefs and farmers in North Carolina are using pawpaws in different recipes and even to brew beer, all in an effort to introduce more people to this forgotten fruit.
Wynn Dinnsen owns Full of Life Farms in Pittsboro. He has about 280 pawpaw trees on his property and during season gathers them twice a day as they fall to the ground.
“They know when they want to drop,” Dinnsen said. “That’s why the old song goes, ‘picking up pawpaws, putting them in a basket’ haha. It’s not like picking down.”
Dinnsen got his pawpaw seeds from N.C. State in a regional trial. He’s spent years growing and studying different varieties to see which trees produce the best flavors of pawpaws.
“It can have the flavor or pineapple, banana, mango, melon, pear, peach … depending on the tree,” Dinnsen said. “All of these trees are different.”