Sunday, August 7, 2011

Early Bearing Pawpaw Trees

It's early August here in Central-Kentucky and the International-Pawpaw-Convention at Kentucky-State-University is more than a month away followed by the Ohio-Pawpaw-Festival -- long-after the fabulous early-bearing-trees drop their last-fruits to eagerly-awaiting pawpaw-snatchers like me. Are we in a different time-zone or what?

This year I'm reporting on two early-bearing-trees: the Champion-Tree in Richmond that started bearing on August 5th and a new discovery dubbed "Early Bell" that's located near the Bell House in Lexington, and it officially bore it's first ripe fruits on July 29th. The season has experienced some record heat-waves that appear to have caused a moderate degree of skin-scorching and uneven fruit-development on the Champion Tree, but the Bell tree was apparently unaffected.

As far as I know Early Bell, as it were, takes the prize for christening the 2011 pawpaw harvesting season. Bell has a very mild and moderately sweet-tasting fruit with only a hint of tropical pawpaw-flavor and NO bitter after-taste -- a good beginner's pawpaw. This was confirmed by two young bystanders on the scene, Phil and his lady-guest that have never tasted pawpaw fruit before. I asked him to save a few samples for the KSU pawpaw curators, but I can tell it's gonna be slim pickings as the pawpaw tree is in Phil's back-yard, and he took an immediate liking to the discovery.

Bell's medium-to-large fruit bears a double-row of long finger-shaped seeds that are sometimes wispy like Peterson's Rappahannock pawpaw seeds. The seed-count and weight is about average and the seed-sacks are cling-free, making seed removal easy.

As I said before, this is quite early for pawpaw fruits. It makes the International Pawpaw Conference seem like the World Baseball Series played in snow... speaking of which I hope to bring frozen-fruit-pulp popsicles to the Conference as tasting-samples to pass-out during my presentation. That should make an impression!

Early Bell Tree Fruits (2011)
Note the plump shape and fruit clusters up to ten or more

Bell Tree Lexington, KY

KY Champion Tree Fruit Slices (2011)

Champion Tree Fruit
Note the size and rugged skin form.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Corn Rows Down Wall Street

Associated Press Business Writer, Bernard Condon, writes about a coming wave of investors turned into wanabee farmers. Farm-land is getting snapped up to fuel the next bubble. Buyers beware!

Before you abandon your day job for an entrepreneurial farming career ask yourself a serious question -- Is farming really for you? I'll give you a hint: it isn't for the couch potato or the derivatives-trader that works in an air-conditioned skyscraper. It's physically demanding work.

If you're serious about agriculture you need a good business strategy. You'll have a hard time surviving against seasoned, well-financed, large-scale producers that grow and sell standard food commodities. The best opportunities are in niche farming, the subject of this web-blog. It's done on a much smaller scale for a select group of customers that want specialty food-products that aren't suited for large-scale farming.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

KY Champion Pawpaw (Asimina Triloba) Tree Scions Available for 2011 Season

Reporting from Central Kentucky

The champion tree looks good for another growing season. As of February 20, 2011 grafting scions are available at the web-site until they are sold out:

We already knew the champion pawpaw tree has a very large tasty fruit.

Pawpaw fruits about the size and weight of a 12 oz soda can.

The pleasant surprises keep coming in such as:

Last summer the champion tree was ahead of all cultivars at KSU. We tasted three very large and ripe pawpaw fruits before August! All of those were 270 grams or larger. If anyone knows of an earlier-bearing pawpaw tree please let me know. This is a genetic trait by the way.

Last spring we grafted some scions, and one of those has 3 flower buds this year – so it looks like precocity is in the genes as well!
Tree graft in first year. Note 3 flower bud formations.

I’m looking forward to another year of surprises as we compare DNA with a stand of pawpaw trees at Ft. Boonesboro about ten miles further down Otter Creek from here. As I understand it, pawpaw fruit was Daniel Boone’s favorite and I’m certain he came across a lot of pawpaw trees in his wilderness adventures. Anybody going to the fort would be quite unprepared to stay without food provisions -- especially under Indian siege. (Boone was captured by the way).

What would a fort be without heir-loom seed-gardens and a few top-choice selections of pawpaw trees around the grounds? That would be kind of like a home without a refrigerator!

Happy gardening!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

2011 Announcement: Pawpaw Seeds, Scions, and Seedlings for Sale

A quality assortment of pawpaw tree propagation materials are available for the 2011 season. Check out these offerings in the American Seeds Catalog of the e-Trading Path website.

Please stay tuned to Craig's List announcements starting around late March and continuing through June of 2011.