Pawpaw Endorsed as Native State Fruit
by Clay Flaherty, AmeriCorps VISTA
Gov. Ted Strickland signed a bill into law last week which, among other things, names the pawpaw as the official native state fruit of
This agricultural victory comes after years of efforts on the part of State Senator Jimmy Stewart, who has been lobbying for the pawpaw to be the state fruit since attending the Ohio Pawpaw Festival years ago.
However, Stewart is not the only person who has been working in support of
“It’s been a long struggle,” he said. “Jimmy Stewart has been introducing that same measure since 2003.”
Powell said that the pawpaw is often overlooked by consumers and growers, despite its excellent nutritional values and the ease with which it can be grown.
"A lot of people just don't realize the properties of pawpaws," he said.
Powell expressed mild disappointment that the pawpaw wasn’t named the state fruit outright. The bill in question names the tomato as the overall state fruit – a legislative compromise, according to Powell. However, he said that the victory is still an important one.
“It gives us some credibility, and leverage in establishing pawpaws throughout
Chris Chmiel, owner of the
In addition to growing his own pawpaws, Chmiel also helps to organize the Ohio Pawpaw Festival in
“It’s a great opportunity to educate people again,” he said.
Those interested in becoming involved with the Ohio Pawpaw Growers' Association should contact Ron Powell at (513.777.8367) or email him (firstname.lastname@example.org). To place an order with or find out more about the work that goes on at Integration Acres, contact Chris Chmiel (740.698.6060) or email him at (email@example.com).