Move over pumpkin spice: Pawpaw fruit is the new taste of fall in Michigan

Posted at 6:22 PM, Oct 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-03 18:22:00-04

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — Some say pumpkin spice is the unofficial taste of fall, but an argument is being made that that flavor is a bit overdone. Perhaps the new taste of fall should be the pawpaw?

That is right: the pawpaw.

It is a fruit native to Michigan that you will be able to pick with your family at a special Washtenaw County orchard from now until the first deep freeze.

Marc Boone shared his knowledge of pawpaws with 7 Action News as we visited his orchard. It is not just an orchard to him, but a place where he aims to grow knowledge of an all-but-forgotten fruit in history.

“They clearcut the forest and plowed up the land and brought apples and peaches, and pawpaws just didn't fit into that equation,” Boone said.

“Just plain by itself, it tastes like banana-peach custard,” he continued.

Other people taste flavors of melon, kiwi or mango. Boone says while they are delicious, they are rare to see in grocery stores because they are fragile and have a short shelf life.

They tend to fall to the ground when ripe. Boone says you can typically pick them up off the ground. Unlike other fruits, bugs don’t seem interested in them. They can also be shaken or picked from the tree.

You eat them by cutting or ripping them in half and eating the soft fruit inside either with a spoon or by squeezing it out.

“Get 'em in the woods before the possums get them. Oh, possums like them. And raccoons,” Boone said.

Arend Elston, owner of Zingerman’s Creamery, says Boone inspired Zingerman’s to bring the taste of pawpaws to customers. People have come to know that every fall, they can get a one-of-a-kind treat at Zingerman’s Creamery: Pawpaw Gelato.

Boone allows the public to pick at his small orchard for a few hours while the fruit is on the trees before the first deep freeze. He is located at 10032 W. Ellsworth Road in Ann Arbor and open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays.