The Orchard

The Minka Farm orchard produces a wide range of fruits including blueberries (pick-your-own), pawpaws, persimmons, apples, muscadine and scuppernong grapes, pears, jujubes and figs.  All harvests vary from year to year depending on weather and insect pressure.  We never use chemicals not found in nature to control problems or pests and most years, we don’t spray anything at all. 

Below are some of the fruits you can find throughout the year in our orchard (the average expected harvest time is in parentheses, but these vary year to year) …

Pawpaws (July-August)

… way down yonder in the pawpaw patch…

It’s not just a children’s song – pawpaws are real!  And very tasty!

Pawpaws are native to North America and prefer to grow where there is shade and moisture, places like river banks.  The wild ones get to be very tall so the fruit is well above the picking range.  When ripe, the pawpaws fall to the ground where wildlife, and people, can reach them.   In our orchard, especially near the beginning of the season, we still let the trees tell us when the pawpaws are ripe by letting them fall to the ground.  If picked too early, the pawpaw will not continue to ripen.  They are tender-skinned and show bruising quickly and easily but they are not compromised by the bruising. Pawpaws are a custard-type fruit with a soft, creamy texture. The taste is very hard to describe – somewhere between a banana, mango and strawberry.  The taste changes with the level of ripeness. Some people enjoy them best while they are still somewhat firm, right after they fall from the tree while others like to let them get very soft before eating them.  Pawpaws store well in the refrigerator and will continue to ripen, but slower than if set on the counter at room temperature.  To use pawpaw pulp for cooking, it’s best to let them get very soft, allowing the skin to turn almost black.  The pulp can be scooped out and frozen for later use.  The Kentucky State University pawpaw program has many recipes and tips for using pawpaws:  http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/recipes.