Kelly Heck of Kelly Heck Photography asked me one day:
Hey, want to go to a Pawpaw Festival?”
I did want to go. I had heard of pawpaws and I was curious to try one. I had once heard of them referred to as the Hillbilly Mango. They are supposed to be sweet and have a custard like texture. They sounded delicious and I knew this was my chance to try one because they are hard to get apparently. You either need to know someone who has a tree or get lucky at a specialty farmer’s market and hope to stumble upon them. So, we went.
So, long story short. The pawpaws are delicious. As one of their signs read:
A creamy fruit, with flavors of Banana, Mango & Pineapple.
What we came to find out however, is that there were several different varieties each with it’s own characteristics. That and the fact that pawpaws have GIANT seeds, and a lot of them. Once you get past all of that however lies a creamy, velvety, to me, coconut, pineapple, pear tasting flesh that is unlike anything you’ve ever tried before. They even had pawpaw ice cream, which I could have eaten all day! Pawpaws are so sweet, the ice cream had no added sugar at all and was out of this world. It was a small and simple festival but served fantastic earth oven pizza, home brewed ginger beer, a live band and several other attractions.
One of these attractions was a Nature Hike
with this man pictured above, Eric Lewis. Eric took the group on a foraging hike through the permaculture/food forest where he spit out more scientific names of families and specific plants than I’m sure Wikipedia has on record. He also gave a good talk on the importance of growing with nature, as opposed to fighting it and how it we start to refer to plants like we do people, it’s easier to relate and take care of them.
Another attraction was Mike’s Hay Bale House
Mike is the gentlemen who puts on the Long Creek Pawpaw Festival. Though our interaction was brief, you could tell Mike was genuine, warm and really enthusiastic about pawpaws and getting them to become a more important part of the area.
Then, there was his house. Wow! Out of respect for Mike, I’ll only show the outside, but this house, though simple in concept was gorgeous in execution. It was just a nice little recap for the whole festival, which was small, charming and a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.