What in the world is pawpaw fruit?

Closeup of Three Pawpaws (Wild Edible Fruit) Ripening on Tree in Forest

Many of us know that go-go music and D.C. go together, but few know about the long term connection between D.C. and pawpaw fruit.

You may be saying to yourself: “pawpaw fruit, what’s that?”

Well, it’s not really in stores, and it is kind of weird.

“They don’t look like something you would want to buy when they are good,” said Niraj Ray of Cultivate the City, an organization that aims to teach people about urban agriculture. He added that the pawpaw “looks like an overripe banana sometimes,” but they are tasty “like a cross between a mango and a banana.”

One of the reasons Ray said they are not more popular is they are not really in stores as they don’t travel very well and can become mushy very quickly.

Ray said the fruit has been around since the ice age and has persisted.

“The founding fathers all had orchards of pawpaw,” Ray said. “Though he probably had nothing to do with it, Teddy Roosevelt Island is a prime location for the fruit, which is harvested around this time of year. The fruit loves water and grows near black walnut trees.”

The fruit even has its own song called “Paw Paw Patch,” with the lyric, “Picking up pawpaw, put ’em in your pocket,” which, given its mushy character, may not be the best idea.

Kyle Cooper

Weekend and fill-in anchor Kyle Cooper has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years, Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP, Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up