International Paw Paw Conference Got Pawpaws?

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Kentucky State University Event

International Paw Paw Conference 2011 Kentucky State University

Dinner Photos Courtesy Kentucky State University

What is a Paw Paw or Pawpaw?What’s a Paw Paw? Glad you asked. For the next week, Friends Drift Inn blog will be featuring Paw Paw recipes, culture and stories about the custardy autumn fruit. I appeared at 4 of East Kentucky Broadcasting Stations yesterday , and tomorrow in The Appalachian News Express. It’s a Paw Paw Palooza!

Kentucky Food Scene Goes Global

From Chef Anthony Lamas Seviche in Louisville to the little café down the street from my office, Paw Paws are making waves in food trends. It’s not just a Kentucky phenom, it’s an international movement.

Paw Paws hanging on the tree fall fruit to be foraged

Last weekend,Kentucky State University hosted the Third Annual International Paw Paw Conference exploring “Pawpaw: Its Past, Present, and Future.” The Conference featured “Paw Paws around the World” a discussion of national and international pawpaw variety trials, pawpaw processing and marketing advances, as well as sessions addressing paw paw research, extension, and entrepreneurial activities. According to Kirk W. Pomper, Ph.D.KSU Principal Investigator of Horticulture “Topics ranged from processing, propagating, orchard production, pests and diseases, and how paw paw was introduced into Romania in 1925.”

Attended by well over 100; folks from 18 states and several countries including The Netherlands and Romania attended the conference. Kentucky State University is the only full-time Paw Paw research facility in the world.

What is a Paw Paw or Pawpaw?

Internationally, the demand for paw paw fruit is growing. With a short shelf life, perhaps three days if refrigerated, many culinary mavens are freezing paw paw puree by the gallons.

Eating fresh paw paws out-of-hand is an Appalachian fall ritual handed down for generations. I wonder what my Grandma would say about all the fancy foods created with the paw paw craze.

Paw Paw Creme Brule Recipe just before adding carmelization
A Paw Paw buffet dinner featuring Paw Paw cuisines was the highlight of last week’s conference. There was Paw Paw Smoothies and Kentucky Fresh Water Prawns with Paw Paw Cocktail sauce. Curried soups, pork medallions with Sweetened Paw Paw Sauce peeked many attendees interest and appetites. Desserts were plenteous including Paw Paw cookies, Paw Paw Crème Brule, and even Paw Paw hand pies!

I was unable to attend the event. But Beth Dotson Brown, part of our newly formed Kentucky Food Bloggers Association recounts her impressions on her blog Goodness From the Garden.

Once you try the custardy, near tropical fruity flavors of an old-time Paw Paw you will wonder why it took you so long! The Paw Paw season is short…don’t miss it!

Friends Drift Inn Recipes, Gardening and Hot Flashes

What is a Paw Paw or Pawpaw?
Paw Paw Cake Recipe

Sorghum Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe for Paw Paw Salad
Paw Paw Salsa Recipe Hot Hot Hot!

Paw Paw Waffle Recipe
Paw Paw Ice Cream Recipe

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About Joyce

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.