It’s called a Pawpaw—and this strange fruit is actually native to North America and 26 states, according to the US Forest Service. West Virginia is lucky to be one of those states—but we grew up calling it the “West Virginian Banana.”

You may have seen this odd looking fruit while hiking through the woods or kayaking down a river. Hopefully you were able to have a taste of this wild treat. If not take some time this year to forage for some! They’re usually ripe at the end of August so we are giving you plenty of time to plan.

5 Reasons You Should Try One:

  1. Taste: It’s described as tasting like a cross between a Mango and a Banana. Im sorry but where do I sign up? Sounds like I’m eating exotic fruit on a tropical vacation but I’m actually in the backwoods of West Virginia.
  2. Recipes:  Its versatile you can make everything from pies, preserves and punch…even a spicy salsa! Some Recipes
  3. Nutritional Value: Research by the University of Kentucky shows that the Pawpaw has three times more Vitamin C as an Apple and twice as much as a Banana.
  4. It’s Presidential: President Thomas Jefferson had Pawpaws at his home Monticello. While he was serving as the Minister to France he even had Pawpaw seeds brought to country to share with his friends, reports NPR.
  5. It’s a native fruit to our state! 

Ok so where do I get one?

So you can go foraging through the woods (make it a day trip!) or buy them commercially. Plant Scientist and West Virginia Native Neal Peterson has been working for more than 30 years to commercially grow the Pawpaw fruit over in Harpers Ferry. Peterson told NPR that once he tasted the Pawpaw fruit, “It was just a revelation” a rival to any peach or apple.

More Pawpaw goodness: