The pawpaw is the largest edible fruit native to the United States and has played an important part in American history. It was a vital dietary staple for early settlers, Lewis and Clark subsisted largely on pawpaws and nuts on many of their expeditions, and the fruit is said to have been one of George Washington’s favorites.
Pawpaws are delicious, have incredible health benefits, and require no pesticides or herbicides to thrive. Yet over the years, they have fallen into obscurity, being eclipsed in popularity by other fruit like apples, cherries, and bananas. What happened to the pawpaw, and what is fueling its recent renaissance in American agriculture?