의사 얼굴 파랗게 질리게 한 토마토

1820년 뉴저지에서 로버트존슨 대령이 '토마토를 먹겠다'고 선언하는 바람에 한바탕 난리가 났었다. 토마토를 먹는 게 무슨 대수냐 하겠지만 그 당시엔 토마토를 독이 든 사악한 열매로 취급하여 그 누구도 입에 대려 하지 않았다. 그런 토마토를 먹겠다고 나섰으니 논란의 대상이 될 수 밖에. 그러나 많은 사람이 보는 앞에서 토마토를 한 박스나 먹어 치운 그는 당연히 너무도 말짱했다. 나는 존슨대령께 무한한 감사의 마음을 전하고 싶다. 그가 토마토의 누명을 벗겨주지 않았더라면 감자튀김을 케찹에 찍어먹기는 고사하고, 토마토소스 스파게티도 여태껏 못 먹었을 것이아닌가.

그렇게 홀대받던 토마토는 영양성분과 그 효능이 알려지면서 10대 건강식품, 슈퍼푸드로 선정되고 이젠 식품계의 슈퍼스타가 됐다. 이탈리아, 그리스에서는 최고의 장수식품으로 꼽히고 영국에선 토마토를 '사랑의 사과'라고 부른다. 힘을 내는 데 필요한 철분과 비타민이 풍부하기 때문이다. 전립선암 예방에도 탁월하고 대표적인 알칼리성식품이기 때문에 고기 같은 산성식품을 먹을 때 토마토를 곁들이면 소화가 촉진되어 위에 부담을 주지 않는다. 지방 분해를 돕는 비타민B와 노화를 막는 라이코펜 성분이 풍부하니 다이어트와 미용에도 좋다.

요즘이 딱 토마토를 먹을 때다. 어릴 적 여름방학에 할아버지 댁에 가면 밀짚모자를 쓰고 밭에 나가 토마토를 따곤 했다. 따자마자 미지근한 것을 물에 씻어 한입 크게 베어 물면 물이 줄줄 흘러 턱밑과 앞섶이 다 젖지만 그 시원한 푸른 맛을 잊을 수가 없다. 착착 썰어 설탕을 뿌리고 냉장고에 넣어두었다가 머리가 찡하도록 차가워진 토마토를 먹는 것도 좋았다. 마지막에 남는 단물은 어느 아이스크림보다 더 시원하고 달콤했다. 가끔은 그 맛이 그리워서 설탕을 치는데 설탕이 토마토의 비타민B를 손실시키는데다가 설탕을 많이 먹어서 좋을 일도 없으니 이젠 되도록이면 토마토로 다른걸 만들어 먹는다.

토마토로 만들 수 있는 음식은 셀 수도 없이 많아서 토마토로 풀코스를 차릴 수도 있다. 토마토주스에 보드카와 우스터소스 등을 넣은 블러디메리 칵테일을 아페리티프(식전주)로 준비하고 에피타이저는 토마토와 모짜렐라에 발사믹식초와 올리브유, 바질과 후추를 뿌린 이탈리안 카프레제로 한다. 다음으로는 갈은 토마토에 올리브유와 마늘, 양파 등을 넣은 스페인식 차가운 스프인 가스파초를 내고, 메인디쉬로는 프랑스식으로 토마토소스에 여러 가지 해물과 향신료를 넣고 부야베스를 끓인다. 마지막으로 토마토를 통째로 얼렸다가 껍질을 벗겨 레몬즙과 함께 갈아 만든 토마토셔벗으로 입가심을 하면 근사한 정찬코스가 완성된다.

굳이 거창한 요리를 하지 않더라도 토마토를 똑똑하게 먹는 방법은 있다. 토마토를 올리브유에 익혀서 먹는 것인데 생으로 먹었을 때 보다 지용성 영양성분인 라이코펜의 흡수율을 5배정도 끌어올릴 수 있으니 현명한 방법이다. 토마토를 1cm정도 두께로 썰어서 팬에 올리브유를 약간만 두르고 구워서 소금이나 발사믹식초에 찍어 먹거나 아예 빵가루를 입혀서 튀겨먹으면 의외로 맛도 좋다.



'토마토를 먹으면 70세에도 자식을 볼 수 있다.', '토마토가 빨갛게 익으면 의사의 얼굴이 파랗게 된다'하는 유럽의 속담이 있다. 그만큼 토마토가 건강에 좋다는 뜻이다. 비싸고 쓴 약도 몸에 좋다하면 눈에 불을켜고 찾아 먹는 마당에 제철이라 맛이 꽉 차고 값도 저렴한 토마토를 마다할 이유가 있겠는가.

김은아 칼럼니스트 eunahstyle@naver.com

텃밭을 둘러보다 잘 익은 방울토마토 하나 따서 옷에 슥슥 문질러 입에 넣는다

싱싱하다는 표현은 이런 맛을 두고 하는 것이겠지

옛날 우리 조상은 양반이여만 집에 심을 수 있었다는 <능소화>

7월 장마철 무궁화와 함께 무더위를 잠깐이나마 잊게 해준다

세상의 어떤 위대한 예술가가 이런 예쁜 꽃을 창조해낼 수 있을까!!

자유도 좋지만 불편한건 싫다! 럭셔리 이동주택

자동차 여행과 편안함은 사실 공존하기 힘듭니다. 장시간의 운전으로 인한 피곤함도 문제입니다만 아무래도 집을 벗어나 생활한다는 것은 심리적 불편함도 있습니다.

우리나라는 나라는 캠핑카 등을 타고 다니며 여행하기에는 작은 편이라 캠핑카나 이동주택에 대한 수요가 적지만 미국의 경우 노는 땅도 많아 이동주택을 갖고 다니며 여기저기 여행하는게 은근히 인기가 있는가 봅니다. 하긴 아직도 개발되지 않고, 수십km를 달려도 사람하나 건물하나 만날 수 없는 곳도 많이 있으니.

하지만 이런 이동주택은 '이동 가능한'이라는 조건 때문에 편안한 생활을 기대하기는 힘듭니다. 최대한 공간을 활용해서 여러가지 물건을 구겨넣어야 하기 때문에 불편함은 감수해야 합니다. 그러나 돈이 있으면 못하는게 없듯이 아래의 차들을 보면 이정도의 이동주택, 혹은 캠핑카라면 몇 년 아니 평생을 돌아다닐 수 있을 것 같습니다.


매우 유명한 자동차이지요? 무려 250만불이라는 가격으로 일단 한번 놀래키고 시작하는 초럭셔리 이동주택입니다. 온갖 편의시설, TV, 샤워실, 킹사이즈는 되어보이는 침대, 편리한 주방... 없는게 없는 이동주택입니다. 이런 차를 가지고 여행다닐 정도라면 기본적으로 집은 250만불이 훨씬 넘겠군요(설마 집보다 비싼 캠핑카를 사는 사람은 없겠죠?).

주차장(...)까지 갖춘 것으로 보아서는 집이 필요없을 듯도 합니다만. 집 대신 250만불짜리 이동주택에서 생활을...? 내부 형태는 원하는데로 꾸밀 수 있는 것 같습니다.

자, 그런데 위의 초호화럭셔리 이동주택의 문제점은 너무나 얌전하게 생겼다는 것입니다. 저래서야 오지여행을 즐기는 사람들에게는 맞지않아 보입니다. 그런 사람들을 위해서는 아래의 이동주택이 잘 어울리겠습니다.


보기에도 무척 튼실해 보이며, 스포츠카 대신 산악용 바이크를 데리고 다닙니다. 외관만 봐서는 전혀 이동형 주택처럼 생기지 않았습니다. 하지만 내부를 보면 상당히 잘 꾸며진 중산층 이상의 가정집을 연상시킵니다.


깔끔하게 정리정돈 되는 것은 물론이고, 자체 흔들림에서도 물건들이 흔들리지 않도록 딱 맞추어진 수납공간이 제공되어 있습니다. 방 크기나 구조가 복층 형식의 원룸을 닮아 있습니다. 첫번째 소개한 초호화럭셔리 이동주택에 비해서는 수수해보입니다만 훨씬 실용적인 구성으로 되어 있다고 보여지는군요.

하지만 여행에 이런 것이면 어떻고 저런 것이면 어떻습니까. 같이 가는 사람과 즐거울 수만 있다면 다 낡아빠진 트럭 한대라도 행복한게 여행이니까요.

도라지꽃에 대한 예찬은 많이 들었지만

금년 여름 학소도에 핀 도라지꽃을 보며 그 이유를 실감한다

2년 전 씨앗을 파종할 땐 몰랐는데,

백도라지도 섞여 있어 더욱 반갑다

The Greatest Mystery: Making a Best Seller

Mike Mergen for The New York Times

Curtis Sittenfeld’s first novel, “Prep,” surprised publishers by selling 133,000 copies in hardcover.

WHEN Shana Kelly, a literary agent at the William Morris Agency, submitted Curtis Sittenfeld’s first novel, “Cipher,” to book publishers in 2003, she had high expectations. She contacted nearly two dozen high-ranking editors at major publishers, expecting every one to make offers for her client’s coming-of-age story set at a boarding school.

Within weeks, though, most editors had passed. “They loved it but weren’t sure they could sell a lot of copies, because they couldn’t figure out how to market it,” Ms. Kelly said. In the end, Random House was the only publisher to make an offer, giving Ms. Sittenfeld a $40,000 advance.

Random House published “Cipher” in January 2005, renaming it “Prep” and backing it with a clever marketing and publicity campaign. But the initial print run was just 13,000 copies — not enough to generate added royalties on the $40,000 advance.

“Prep” proceeded to confound all expectations by making the New York Times best-seller list a month after publication. The hardcover, with a cover price of $21.95, eventually sold more than 133,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, which captures about 70 percent of sales. The paperback also became a best seller, selling 329,000 copies to date. Foreign rights have been sold for publication in 25 languages, and Paramount has optioned the movie rights.

The book was buoyed by favorable press and word of mouth. But other books receive similar attention and go nowhere, so why was “Prep” so successful? Conversely, what causes a book that was all the rage at auction time to fall flat at bookstores?

Brian DeFiore, a literary agent, asks: “Is it the cover? The title? The buzz wasn’t there? Timing? It wasn’t that good?”

The answer is that no one really knows. “It’s an accidental profession, most of the time,” said William Strachan, editor in chief at Carroll & Graf Publishers. “If you had the key, you’d be very wealthy. Nobody has the key.”

The hunt for the key has been much more extensive in other industries, which have made a point of using new technology to gain a better understanding of their customers. Television stations have created online forums for viewers and may use the information there to make programming decisions. Game developers solicit input from users through virtual communities over the Internet. Airlines and hotels have developed increasingly sophisticated databases of customers.

Publishers, by contrast, put up Web sites where, in some cases, readers can sign up for announcements of new titles. But information rarely flows the other way — from readers back to the editors.

“We need much more of a direct relationship with our readers,” said Susan Rabiner, an agent and a former editorial director. Bloggers have a much more interactive relationship with their readers than publishers do, she said. “Before Amazon, we didn’t even know what people thought of the books,” she said.

Most in the industry seem to see consumer taste as a mystery that is inevitable and even appealing, akin to the uncontrollable highs and lows of falling in love or gambling. Publishing employees tend to be liberal arts graduates who enter the field with a starting salary around $30,000. Compensation is not tied to sales performance. “The people who go into it don’t do it for the money, which might explain why it’s such a bad business,” Mr. Strachan said.

Eric Simonoff, a literary agent at Janklow & Nesbit Associates, said that whenever he discusses the book industry with people in other industries, “they’re stunned because it’s so unpredictable, because the profit margins are so small, the cycles are so incredibly long, and because of the almost total lack of market research.”

Publishers do engage in limited numbers crunching. In estimating value, editors rely heavily on an author’s previous sales or on sales of similar titles. Based on those figures and some analysis — about the popularity of the genre, the likely audience, the possible newsworthiness of the topic of the economy — they work up profit and loss projections.

The advance payment to the author is often an estimate of the first year’s royalties, usually 10 percent to 15 percent of expected sales. The advance is a liability for the publisher because it is a fixed cost. It doesn’t have to be repaid by the author if it turns out to be an overestimate, which it usually is. But when earned royalties exceed the advance amount, the author is paid more.

Calculating the advance accurately would be a prized skill, but no editors claim to have a scientific handle on how a book will sell. Instead, they emphasize the role of intuition and say that while big unexpected losses and gains do happen, somehow it all works out.

But results are not spectacular, for an industry that had $34.6 billion in net revenue in 2005. Net profit margins hover in the mid-single digits for the $14 billion trade segment, which covers adult, juvenile and mass market titles, with an estimated 70 percent of titles in the red.

Sales in the trade segment (which includes both fiction and nonfiction) grew 5 percent in 2005 from the previous year, but year-over-year sales growth is expected to decline to less than 2 percent by 2010, according to book industry trade group data. The industry does follow trends to pursue growth, but when it comes to acquisitions, methods have not changed much in hundreds of years, says Al Greco, a professor of marketing at Fordham University.

IT’S the way this business has run since 1640,” he says. That is when 1,700 copies of the Bay Psalm Book were published in the colonies. “It was a gamble, and they guessed right because it sold out of the print run. And ever since then, it has been a crap shoot,” Professor Greco said.

There is a “business model” that supports this risk-taking. As Mr. Strachan puts it, “Lightning does strike.”

And so it must. To make money, the industry depends on perennial sellers and on best sellers. It’s not so much the almost sure-fire best sellers by the well-known authors, because those cost so much to acquire and market, but the surprise best sellers. Those include books like “Prep,” “The Nanny Diaries” (bought for $25,000, it sold more than four million copies), “Marley and Me” (bought for $200,000, sold 2.5 million copies) and “The Secret” (bought for less than $250,000, sold 5.25 million copies in less than six months).

“They’re the ones we all hope and pray happen to us one day,” says Judith Curr, the publisher of Atria Books, which printed “The Secret,” a self-help book that explains “the law of attraction.”

After seeing the movie version of “The Secret,” which existed before the book, Ms. Curr estimated that the planned book could sell a million copies. Based on what? “Just a feeling,” she said. She described it as a tingling that went up her spine.

All of the major houses have also lost on big bets. One of the highest advances ever paid was more than $8 million for a proposal that became “Thirteen Moons,” the second novel by Charles Frazier. He is the author of “Cold Mountain,” which sold 1.6 million copies in hardcover.

Random House printed 750,000 copies of “Thirteen Moons” for the hardcover release in October. The book became a best seller, but it has sold only 240,000 copies so far, according to Nielsen BookScan. That would account for less than $1 million of earned royalties, under standard contract terms. The paperback will be out next month, further diminishing hopes of selling out even the initial hardcover print run.

“It’s guesswork,” says Bill Thomas, editor in chief of Doubleday Broadway. “The whole thing is educated guesswork, but guesswork nonetheless. You just try to make sure your upside mistakes make up for your downside mistakes.”

Downside mistakes are more risky when they come with higher advances. These result from bidding wars or when a house decides that a project is so special it is worth acquiring at nearly any cost.

“On rare occasions, you love it, bypass the numbers crunching, do back of the envelope in your head, call the agent and get in early and offer half a million,” Mr. Thomas says. That can lead to auction fever.

“That’s often when the business model of this industry falls to pieces,” Mr. DeFiore, the agent, says. “Because publishing houses are paying high six and even seven figures in hopes those books will turn into the megahits they need, but some will and some won’t, so those big bets are dangerous.”

In the case of hardcovers, a few books that the publishers think have best-seller potential are promoted with generous marketing and publicity campaigns. Others are considered long shots, with anticipated sales of maybe a few thousand copies. Most are considered midlist, with respectable sales of 15,000 to 20,000 copies, Mr. Greco says, but not breakout sales.

Titles can shift categories unexpectedly. “Nobody in publishing is smart enough to know which of the big books will be fiascos, which of the little books will be successes and which in the middle might go up or down,” Mr. Thomas says.

There are two ways for a book to become a best seller. One is to make it on to a best-seller list by selling many copies in a week. Other books sell steadily over months and years, eventually outselling many official best sellers. “Unanswered Cries,” a true-crime book by Tom French, was acquired in 1989 by St. Martin’s for $30,000. It now has 400,000 copies in print in paperback and sold at least 31,000 copies last year alone.

These older titles are crucial to profits because marketing and acquisition costs have usually already been recouped. Yet publishers focus much more attention on the hardcover release. As they prepare to introduce a book, any combination of timing, packaging, marketing and other factors could help ignite the mysterious spark that leads to best-sellerdom.

Contributing to the success of “The Secret,” for example, could be any or all of the following: the subject, the title, the initial DVD release, the marketing campaign, the power of the Internet, “Oprah” and the latest trend.

But “The Secret” is only the most recent book of its type. “Many people have spent lots of money trying to publish the book ‘The Secret’ has become,” says Susan Petersen Kennedy, president of the Penguin Group. “A lot of books are just like that that haven’t worked.”

The same uncertainty surrounded “Prep.” When Ms. Sittenfeld was writing the novel, she recalled, colleagues said, “The boarding school book has already been written. Why are you doing it again?”

But after it became a best seller, Ms. Sittenfeld said, she heard the opposite: “Of course it did well! It’s a boarding school book!”

The publisher of “Prep” attributes the success, in addition to the story, to a catchy title and book cover and creative marketing and publicity. A team of four publicists made belts that matched the cover for giveaways, and sent splashy gift bags (holding pink and green flip-flops, the belt, notebooks, lip gloss) with the galleys to magazines. The pitch letter included photocopies of the publicists’ own high school yearbook photos.

“It got attention, and we started getting calls wanting more and more galleys,” says Jynne Martin, one of the publicists.

An impressive lineup of press coverage followed. The book ended up with coveted crossover market appeal: in addition to young women, the book was read by adolescents, more mature readers and males, according to anecdotal evidence. Information about readers is often anecdotal because publishers argue that market research would be too expensive, or too difficult to pull off because one book is so different from the next.

“Some of the best and most interesting books have something contrarian that does surprise and delight. says Susan Weinberg, publisher of PublicAffairs.

TAKE the surprise of “Skinny Bitch,” a diet book by Rory Freedman, a former modeling agent, and Kim Barnouin, a former model. “The voice is funny, tough love, no nonsense,” the authors’ agent, Talia Rosenblatt Cohen, said. But the authors were largely unknown and advocate a vegan lifestyle. “Everyone kept saying, ‘No platform!’ and ‘Vegan!’ ” Ms. Rosenblatt Cohen said.

The book sold to Running Press in Philadelphia for barely over five figures and has not received much mainstream press since its publication 16 months ago. Word traveled among vegans and college students, however, and it became a Los Angeles Times best seller. More than 100,000 copies are now in print, and the authors have signed a deal for two more books with Running Press for “well into the six figures.”

Some experts wonder if book publishers might uncover more books like this if they tried harder to find out more about their buyers and what they want.

“The Newspaper Association of America has a staggering amount of data on people who read newspapers. The book business has, basically, nothing,” said Professor Greco. “They’re not going into the marketplace and doing mall intercepts and asking people, as they leave the bookstore, ‘What did you buy? Did you find what you’re looking for? What motivated you to choose that book?’ ”

An exception is the consumer research gathered by the Romance Writers of America, a writers’ association that publishes a regular market study of romance readers. It reports survey information on, for example, demographics, what respondents are reading, where they are getting the books and how often, and what kind of covers attract them. Romance authors and publicists use the information to create promotional campaigns.

Most publishers, though, continue to gather data on sales and not much else, though past performance is certainly no guarantee of future results, even from the same author.

After “Prep” became a best seller, Random House signed a two-book deal with Ms. Sittenfeld for a multiple of her $40,000 “Prep” advance that she would not reveal.

Her second coming-of-age novel, “The Man of My Dreams,” was published last May, and again the advance payment and sales haven’t matched up. According to Nielsen BookScan, “The Man of My Dreams” has sold 36,000 copies in hardcover and 6,000 in paperback.

Ms. Sittenfeld says she is reminded of something she heard from an editor: “People think publishing is a business, but it’s a casino.”

Editors’ note: The editor of the Sunday Business section is under contract to Random House and did not edit this article.

Pawpaw

Contributor: Desmond R. Layne

Copyright © 1995. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.


Common Names

Indiana Banana
Hoosier Banana
Poor Man's Banana

Scientific Names

Species: Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal
Family: Annonaceae (Custard Apple Family)

Uses

Eaten in-hand as fresh fruit or processed into desserts. Twigs are source of annonaceous acetogenins which are being used in the development of anti-cancer drugs and botanical pesticides.

Origin and Botany

The pawpaw is the only temperate member of the tropical Annonaceae family and is the largest tree fruit native to the United States. Pawpaws grow wild in the rich, mesic hardwood forests of 25 states in the eastern United States ranging from northern Florida to southern Ontario (Canada) and as far west as eastern Nebraska. Pawpaws flourish in the deep, rich fertile soils of river-bottom lands where they grow as understory trees or thicket-shrubs. In addition to the tropical Annona relatives, there are eight members of the Asimina genus that are native to the extreme southeastern states of Florida and Georgia. These include A. incarna (flag pawpaw), A. longifolia, A. obovata, A. parviflora (dwarf pawpaw), A. pygmaea, A. reticulata, A. tetramera (opossum pawpaw), and A. X nashii.

Description of the Plant

Pawpaw is a small, deciduous tree that may attain 5 to 10 m in height. In the forest understory, trees often exist in clumps or thickets. This may result from root suckering or seedlings developing from fruits that dropped to the ground from an original seedling tree. In sunny locations, trees typically assume a pyramidal habit, straight trunk and lush, dark green, long, drooping leaves that turn gold and brown in color during the fall. Flowers emerge before leaves in mid spring. The blossoms occur singly on previous year's wood and may reach up to 5 cm in diameter. Flowers are strongly protogynous, self-incompatible and require cross pollination although some trees may be self-compatible. Pollination may be by flies and beetles which is consistent with the presentation appearance of the flower: dark, meat-colored petals and a fetid aroma. Fruit set in the wild is usually low and may be pollinator or resource-limited but under cultivation, tremendous fruit loads have been observed. Fruits are oblong-cylindric berries that are typically 3 to 15 cm long, 3 to 10 cm wide and weigh from 200 to 400 g. They may be borne singly or in clusters which resemble the "hands" of a banana plant (Musa spp.). This highly aromatic, climacteric fruit has a ripe taste that resembles a creamy mixture of banana, mango, and pineapple. Shelf-life of a tree-ripened fruit stored at room temperature is 2 to 3 days. With refrigeration, fruit can be held up to 3 weeks while maintaining good eating quality. Within the fruit, there are two rows of large, brown, bean shaped, laterally compressed seeds that may be up to 3 cm long. Seeds contain alkaloids in the endosperm that are emetic. If chewed, seed poisons may impair mammalian digestion but if swallowed whole, seeds may pass through the digestive tract intact.

Crop Status

Pawpaws are not yet a commercially important crop in the U.S. but they have tremendous potential based on the following reasons: 1) adaptation of trees to existing climatic and edaphic conditions; 2) nutritional/cosmetic value of fruit; 3) valuable natural compounds in plant; 4) nursery wholesale and retail tree production; and 5) as a component in residential 'edible' landscapes. Pawpaw is well adapted to the 25 states to which it is native and where it already grows in the wild. It is hardy to zone 5 (-25°C) and requires a minimum of 400 hrs annual chill units, 160 frost-free days, and 80 cm of annual precipitation with most falling during spring and summer. Pawpaw is an excellent food source. It exceeds apple, peach, and grape in most vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and food energy value. Pawpaw fruits are best eaten fresh when fully ripe. The intense tropical flavor and aroma may also be useful for developing processed food products (blended fruit drinks, baby food, ice creams, etc.). The flesh purees easily and freezes nicely. Pawpaws easily substitute in equal part for banana in most recipes. Aromas may be used commercially in cosmetics and skin products. Pawpaw plants produce natural compounds (annonaceous acetogenins) in leaf, bark and twig tissues, that possess both highly anti-tumor and pesticidal properties. Current research by Dr. Jerry McLaughlin at Purdue University (personal communication) suggests that a potentially lucrative industry, based simply on production of plant biomass, could develop for production of anti-cancer drugs (pending F.D.A. approval) and natural (botanical) pesticides. The high level of natural defense compounds in the tree make it highly resistant to insect/disease infestation (R.N. Peterson, The PawPaw Foundation, personal observation). With proper management, organic commercial fruit production may be possible. Currently in the U.S., there are more than 40 commercial nurseries selling pawpaw trees. Seedling and grafted trees in the retail nursery trade are currently selling briskly for as much as $18.50 and $26.50 apiece, respectively, versus $3-4 for a 2-year old, grafted apple tree. Standing orders are currently in excess of 40,000 trees in the wholesale market (Jim Gilbert, manager, Northwoods Wholesale Nursery, Molalla, OR, personal communication). Pawpaws are ideally suited for the residential 'edible' landscape due to their lush, tropical appearance, attractive growth form, size, fall color, and delicious fruit. In addition, Asimina spp. are suitable for butterfly gardens as they attract the zebra swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) for whom they are the exclusive larval host plant.

Crop Culture

Seedling Production

As soon as flesh is soft, fruit should be collected for seed. Seeds are easily extracted following maceration of fruit in water and floating off of pulp. The seed can be sterilized by shaking seeds with a 10-20% Chlorox solution for 1-2 minutes followed by several rinses of distilled water. This aids in reducing fungal and bacterial contamination during storage. Seeds should not be allowed to dry out. Once cleaned, they should be stored refrigerated in Ziplock-type polyethylene bags with slightly moist sphagnum (or peat) moss. Seeds have a dormant immature embryo and require stratification. Storage under refrigerated conditions (5°C) for 100 days is recommended to overcome embryo dormancy. Provided that desiccation and microbial contamination do not occur, seeds may be stored for several years under refrigerated conditions with little loss in viability.

Stratified or afterripened seeds are planted either in a prepared seedbed or in containers. Scarification of the seed coat is not necessary. Pawpaw seed germination is hypogeal. Seeds should be sown to a 3 cm depth in a moist, well drained soil or other medium that has good aeration in containers that are 20-25 cm deep. Following radicle emergence, tap root growth proceeds to the bottom of the container and lateral roots begin to develop. Typically, under soil temperatures of 24°-29°C, the shoot does not emerge from the soil until 9 weeks following sowing. Shoot emergence is hastened 10 days by elevating soil temperature to 29°-32°C from sowing date thereafter. The optimal conditions for greenhouse production of robust, container-grown seedlings include the following: average day and night temperatures of 27° and 24°C, respectively, max. light intensity 1000 µmol•m-2 s-1 photosynthetic photon flux density (greenhouse whitewashing recommended during summer months, especially), 16 h photoperiod (extended by high pressure sodium lamps), fertilization 2x/wk to runoff during shoot growth phase, and soil temperature of 29°-32°C. For seedlings with 2-12 unfolded leaves grown in 740 cu. cm containers, 250 ppm 20N-20P-20K water soluble fertilizer plus trace elements is recommended. After 12 or more unfolded leaves are attained, seedlings require transplanting to a larger container. Seedlings will continue actively growing once 'potted-on' if transplanted before they exhaust the existing soil volume; otherwise, they will set a terminal bud and stop shoot growth. We transplant into 40 cm deep 2 gallon pots and then boost the fertilization rate to 500 ppm 20N-20P-20K water soluble fertilizer plus trace elements. If root spiraling in containers is a problem, containers can be coated with a latex paint mixture containing copper compounds of low solubility. By utilizing photoperiod extension, light intensities not exceeding 50% of full sunlight, temperature regulation, soil warming and fertilization, we have produced pawpaw seedlings with up to 1.5 m of top growth in one season in the greenhouse. Trees of this size are ideal for field transplanting and have sufficient caliper for chip-budding.

Field Planting

Field planting should be done when trees are not actively growing. Trees can be planted in fall or spring. Spring-planted trees should have had their chilling requirement met at or before planting. Ideally, a dormant tree is planted in early Spring, although similar considerations as noted below should be adhered to for Fall planting of a dormant tree. Planting holes should match the existing containerized root system. For 2 gal. containers, a hand-held power auger works nicely for hole drilling. Care should be taken not to plant trees when soil is too dry or wet. Hole drilling in wet, clayish soils will result in glazing of the hole walls which may impede root penetration into the soil. Soil should be well drained, deep, fertile and slightly acid (ie. pH 5.5-7). Preplant soil tests are desirable in order to make necessary amendments. Spring planting should be done during the local pawpaw budbreak period (April in Kentucky). Trees should be planted such that the soil line of the pot is even with the soil line of the field. It is essential that seedlings receive adequate water in the year of establishment. Pawpaw trees establish and grow best when they are given shelter the first year in the field. This is reliably accomplished by utilizing tree shelters that are used in reforestation. Weed control is necessary especially in the establishment year. Fertilizer application can be accomplished by broadcasting granular fertilizer in spring. Fertigation with liquid fertilizer can be useful if drip irrigation is installed in the orchard. We do not currently have recommendations for feeding field planted trees but we fertigate with 500 ppm 20N-20P-20K water soluble fertilizer plus trace elements once a month in May, June, and July during the active growth phase. Fertilizer recommendations based on foliar and soil analyses will be developed in the future. Recommended tree spacing at present is 5.5 m between rows and 2 m apart in the row. Row orientation should be North-South.

Transplanting trees from the wild is usually unsuccessful. Young trees dug from a thicket or grove are often root suckers with few, brittle roots that have very few root hairs. Due to the poorly developed root system and frequent absence of shelter following transplanting, transplanting shock is usually severe resulting in the death of the root sucker. Transplanting of seedlings from the wild is most successful when done in the Spring during budbreak. If many roots are lost in the digging process, it is desirable to prune the shoot to bring it into balance with the existing root system. Unlike transplanting seedlings collected from the wild, containerized seedlings transplant with high success if the guidelines described above are adhered to.

Vegetative Propagation

Pawpaws are easily propagated by several grafting and budding techniques. These include whip-and-tongue, cleft, bark inlay, and chip budding. Chip budding is most successful when the seedling rootstock is pencil thick or greater in diameter and actively growing. Winter collected, dormant scion budwood should have had its chilling requirement fulfilled. When performing chip budding, it is desirable to try to match the diameter of the budwood with that of the stock plant. It is recommended to wrap the graft with parafilm laboratory film using strips cut to 2 cm x 15 cm. Parafilm is flexible, moldable, self sealing and moisture resistant. When stretched, it applies adequate pressure to stimulate callus production and it maintains good humidity for union formation. Within 2 weeks, buds will begin expanding and may penetrate the parafilm or just enlarge under it. In the latter case, parafilm is easily removed by using a sharp budding knife and making a shallow incision along the length of the wrap on the side opposite the bud. Care must be taken not to damage the scion bud in the process of removing parafilm. Once scion growth commences, we recommend cutting back the top of the stock to 30-60 cm in height leaving 6 or more functional lower leaves and rubbing off all competing buds on the rootstock. We have found that cutting the stock back to just above the bud reduces scion growth. Once the scion is 30 cm or more in length, the lower leaves on the stock can be removed and the stock can be cut back to a height of 20-25 cm above the union. Under greenhouse conditions, we have also found that leaving the stock as described above is extremely helpful because the stub of the stock projecting above the union then provides a `stake' to secure the growing scion. Some scion varieties appear to grow more horizontally from the graft union than others and using this technique ensures uniform habit and development of a strong union and vertically oriented scion. We use masking tape to tie up the scion as it grows. Once the scion becomes woody, this tape is no longer needed. Starting with a large, healthy rootstock, up to 1.5 m of scion growth can be attained in as few as 3 months under optimal greenhouse conditions described above. Whip grafting is successful on seedling rootstock material that is as small as 3-4 mm in diameter, provided the scion is of similar diameter (Jim Gilbert, Northwoods Wholesale Nursery, Molalla, OR, personal communication).

Other vegetative propagation techniques such as root cuttings, hard and softwood cuttings, and tissue culture have met with poor or marginal success. Propagation by hardwood cutting techniques has never been attempted for pawpaw indicating a need for research to evaluate the commercial potential thereof. However, pawpaw propagation by softwood cuttings has been successful although at a low percentage. Micropropagation techniques have been developed for many Annonaceous relatives of pawpaw indicating potential promise of this technology for pawpaw.

Painting of cuckoos in a pawpaw tree
Yellow-billed Cuckoo in Pawpaw Tree, by John James Audubon, accession number 1863.17.002.
©Collection of The New-York Historical Society

 

PAWPAW

작년에 100% 실패한 이후 금년 봄에 포포나무 씨앗을 다시 파종했는데,

7월이 되어서야 드디어 그 중 3개가 발아에 성공했다

성인남성의 엄지손톱보다도 더 큰 씨앗을 흙밖으로 들어올리는

새싹의 모습은 경이로울 정도다

서울에서도 월동이 가능할 것으로 예측되는(영하 30도까지 월동가능)

포포나무의 성장과정이 벌써부터 기대된다

성목 키가 5~10미터 정도 된다니 그리 크게 자라는 나무도 아니고

무엇보다 바나나+망고 맛의 열매가 열린다고 하니

이 삼형제를 잘 키워봐야겠다

자고 일어나니 어느 날

포포나무의 새싹이 자신의 몸집에 비해 엄청 무거워 보이는

씨앗을 흙 밖으로 거뜬이 들어올렸다 -- 와! 매직!!

씨앗을 매단채 새잎을 하나 둘 날개 펴듯 활짝 펴올린다

 

위, 아래 사진의 포포나무는

씨앗을 아직 달고 있는 녀석의 형들이다

인터넷 검색 중 찾은 윗 사진은

어린 포포나무 묘목을 옮겨심는 모습

학소도의 "포포 삼형제"가 저 정도 크기의 묘목이 되려면 앞으로 1년? 2년?

휴우~~ 그럼 열매는 언제? ㅋㅋ

Asimina triloba

Annonaceae

Common Name:Pawpaw, Paw Paw, Papaw, Poor Man's Banana, Hoosier Banana, etc. (In Australia the tropical papaya, Carica papaya, is also known as Pawpaw).

Related species: Asimina incarna, A. longifolia, A. obovata, A. parviflora, A. pygmaea, A. reticulata, A. tetramera, A. X nashii. These eight Asimina species grow in the southeastern United States.

Distant Affinity: Cherimoya (Annona cherimola), Soursop (Annona muricata), Custard Apple (Annona reticulata), Sugar Apple, Sweetsop (Annona squamosa), Atemoya (Annona squamosa X A. cherimola).

Origin: The pawpaw is native to the temperate woodlands of the eastern U.S. The American Indian is credited with spreading the pawpaw across the eastern U.S. to eastern Kansas and Texas, and from the Great Lakes almost to the Gulf. Fossils prove the pawpaw is indigenous to the U.S.

Adaptation: The pawpaw is adapted to the humid continental climate of its native habitat. It is seldom found near the Atlantic or Gulf coasts. It requires a minimum of 400 hours of winter chill and at least 160 frost-free days. Pawpaws appear to be sensitive to low humidities, dry winds and cool maritime summers. It has been successfully grown in parts of California and the Pacific Northwest that meet its growing requirements. It has grown well in the San Jose area (USDA Climate Zone 9 or Sunset Climate Zone 15). The climatic conditions of Southern California make growing the pawpaw there more difficult. The deep winter dormancy of the tree makes it highly frost tolerant, withstanding temperatures of -25° F or lower (hardy to USDA Climate Zone 5). Pawpaws can be grown as container specimens, although this is not often practiced. A deep pot is needed to accommodate the root system.

DESCRIPTION

Growth Habit: The pawpaw is a deciduous, often narrowly conical tree growing from about 12 feet to around 20 feet. Pawpaw trees are prone to producing root suckers a few feet from the trunk. When these are permitted to grow, the single-clone pawpaw patch comes into being. The prevailing experiences of many individuals is that the pawpaw is a slow grower, particularly when it is young. However, under optimal greenhouse conditions, including photo-period extension light of approximately 16 hours, top growth of up to 5 feet can be attained in three months.

Foliage: The dark green, obovate-oblong, drooping leaves grow up to 12 inches long, giving the pawpaw an interesting tropical appearance. The leaves turn yellow and begin to fall in mid-autumn and leaf out again in late spring after the tree has bloomed.

Flowers: Dormant, velvety, dark brown flower buds develop in the axils of the previous years' leaves. They produce maroon, upside-down flowers up to 2 inches across. The normal bloom period consists of about 6 weeks during March to May depending on variety, latitude and climatic conditions. The blossom consists of 2 whorls of 3 petals each, and the calyx has 3 sepals. Each flower contains several ovaries which explains why a single flower can produce multiple fruits.

Fruit: The pawpaw is the largest edible fruit native to America. Individual fruits weigh 5 to 16 ounces and are 3 to 6 inches in length. The larger sizes will appear plump, similar to the mango. The fruit usually has 10 to 14 seeds in two rows. The brownish to blackish seeds are shaped like lima beans, with a length of 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches. Pawpaw fruits often occur as clusters of up to nine individual fruits. The ripe fruit is soft and thin skinned.

CULTURE

Location: The young plant is very sensitive to full sunlight and requires filtered sun for the first year or two. The use of tree shelters is an ideal solution to the problem, permitting the plant to receive a full day of filtered sunlight. Once established, pawpaws prefer full sun. The large dangling leaves dislike strong winds. Overall the tree is an excellent edible landscape addition.

Soil: Pawpaws do best in deep, fertile soil that is moist, but well-drained and slightly acid (pH 5-7). The addition of compost to most western soils makes them more hospitable to the pawpaw. Avoid heavy, wet, alkaline soil.

Irrigation: The pawpaw needs regular watering during the growing season. The soil should be kept moist but avoid waterlogging.

Fertilization: The pawpaw responds to the application of an organic or granular fertilizer high in potassium twice a year. For container growing, 250 - 500 ppm of soluble 20-20-20 NPK plus soluble trace elements during growth phase is optimal.

Pruning: Ordinarily little pruning is required, except to remove dead, damaged or wayward branches. Periodic pruning may be used to stimulate some new growth each year on older trees, since it is new growth that produces fruit the following season.

Propagation: To break dormancy Pawpaw seed must receive a 90 to 120 day stratification, i.e. exposure to cold temperatures. To accomplish this, the seed should be placed in plastic freezer zipper bag containing a handful of moist sphagnum moss and refrigerated at 32° - 40° F. The over wintering of field planted seeds normally accomplishes this stratification requirement.

Germination of pawpaw seed is hypogeal--the shoot emerges without any cotyledons. Under ideal greenhouse culture, germination can be expected in about seven weeks. Seeds field-planted in the fall will emerge the following July or August. But before the shoot emerges, the seed will have sent down a 10 inch long tap root.

Hardwood cuttings are essentially impossible to root, while root cuttings have been variable to disappointing. Some success has been reported using softwood cuttings under intermittent mist with bottom heat (80° F) and supplemental light (14 hours). All grafting and budding techniques can be performed on the pawpaw, but T-budding is not recommended. Chip-budding has been reported to be successful. Scion wood should be gathered while the tree is dormant and kept refrigerated. Grafting can be done in the spring after vegetative growth begins.

Young pawpaw plants have fleshy, brittle roots with few fine root hairs, making them difficult to transplant. It is important to follow these helpful rules:

  1. Use seedlings, not root suckers.
  2. Move the tree with roots and soil intact. A container grown specimen is best.
  3. Transplant the tree in the spring after bud break.
  4. Give the plant good drainage and keep it well watered the first year.

Pests and diseases: Pawpaw trees are relatively disease free, including a resistance to Oak Root Fungus (Armillaria). A number of vertebrates such as foxes, opossums, squirrels and raccoons will eat the fruit, although deer, goats and rabbits will not eat the leaves or twigs. The attraction of pawpaw roots to gophers is a somewhat unknown factor, but it seems likely that they would not be the gopher's first choice. The Zebra Swallowtail butterfly's larvae feed exclusively on young, pawpaw foliage, but never in great numbers. On the West Coast, slugs, snails and earwigs can be easily controlled by the application of Tanglefoot to a band around the pawpaw tree trunk. It is important not to apply Tanglefoot directly to the bark, however.

Pollination: Poor pollination has always plagued the pawpaw in nature, and the problem has followed them into domestication. Pawpaw flowers are perfect, in that they have both male and female reproduction parts, but they are not self-pollinating. The flowers are also protogynaus, i.e., the female stigma matures and is no longer receptive when the male pollen is shed. In addition pawpaws are self-incompatible, requiring cross pollination from another unrelated pawpaw tree.

Bees show no interest in pawpaw flowers. The task of pollenization is left to unenthusiastic species of flies and beetles. A better solution for the home gardener is to hand pollinate, using a small, soft artist's brush to transfer pollen to the stigma. Pollen is ripe for gathering when the ball of anthers is brownish in color, loose and friable. Pollen grains should appear as small beige-colored particles on the brush hairs. The stigma is receptive when the tips of the pistils are green, glossy and sticky, and the anther ball is firm and greenish to light yellow in color.

Harvest: Pawpaw fruit ripens during a four-week period between mid August and into October, depending on various factors. When ripe, it is soft and yields easily to a gentle squeeze, and has a pronounced perfumed fragrance. The skin of the green fruit usually lightens in color as it ripens and often develops blackish splotches which do not affect the flavor or edibility. The yellow flesh is custard like and highly nutritious. The best fruit has a complex, tropical flavor unlike any other temperate zone fruit. At present, the primary use of pawpaws is for fresh eating out of hand. The ripe fruit is very perishable with a shelf life of 2 or 3 days, but will keep up to 3 weeks if it is refrigerated at 40° - 45° F.

 

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Plantae>Magnoliophyta>Magnoliopsida>Magnoliales>Annonaceae>Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal

Pawpaw is a fairly common colony-forming understory small tree of rich bottomlands. Dwarf Pawpaw (Asimina parviflora), which occurs on drier sites, is similar, but with smaller flowers, smaller leaves, and shorter stature. Pawpaw leaves are simple, entire, large (up to a foot long), and malodorous if crushed.

Orange Co., NC 5/4/03.

Pawpaw produces unmistakable purplish-brown flowers in mid-April.

The Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) feeds on the leaves of Asimina species as a caterpillar.

Orange Co., NC 4/14/02.

The oddly-shaped fruits are edible, if you're lucky enough to find a ripe one before it's harvested by wildlife.

Montgomery Co., MD 9/10/05.

An old mummified fruit opened to reveal the large, shiny brown seeds.

Durham Co., NC 3/1/08.

Flower and leaf buds breaking in early spring.

Person Co., NC 4/1/06.

View from beneath a flower.

Orange Co., NC 4/9/07.

The flowers face downwards.

Orange Co., NC 4/9/07.

Bark detail.

Person Co., NC 4/1/06

The Autumn birding hike of October 10th was not very productive in terms of birds. However, during the course of the hike, several of the participants got their first introduction to the Pawpaw, Asimina triloba. The name of this plant is sometimes spelled Papaw - and in that form is often confused with another fruit that sometimes goes by that name, the Papaya, Carica papaya. (The latter is in a totally different family than our Pawpaw, and can only grow in tropical areas.)

Our Pawpaw, which grows as far north as New York and southern Ontario, out west as far as Nebraska and Texas, and south to Florida, is known by several other names including the American Custard Apple, the West Virginia Banana, and the Indiana Banana. There are about seven other members of the genus Asimina, all growing in the southeastern U.S.

The Pawpaw made some headlines in 1992 when it was reported that a Purdue University researcher had isolated a powerful anti- cancer drug, as well as a safe natural pesticide from the Pawpaw tree. The substances are said to be primarily found in the twigs and small branches. The researcher, Jerry McLaughlin, revealed that it was because of some childhood experiences with eating the fruit that he had a feeling that there was something biologically active in the plant.

More Pawpaw Pictures
A Photo Album...
...of our favorite tree!

Kathleen and Mark with
a Pawpaw tree in its third year.

 

A row of young Pawpaw trees,
the beginnings of an orchard.

 

Seedling Pawpaw trees in gallon pots.

 

The same trees, seen from above.

 

These little seedlings....
...could someday make an orchard!
All images © Blossom Nursery

Climate
Pawpaw trees do well in humid continental climates, similar to their native range. They require warm to hot summers, with at least 160 frost~free days; mild to cold winters, with a minimum of 400 hours of winter chill. Although the trees will grow with less winter chill, they may not fruit. And a minimum of 32 inches (81 cm) of rainfall mainly in spring and summer.
Pawpaw trees do not like low humidity, dry winds and cool maritime summers.
They can withstand temperatures of -25° F (-32°C), while dormant.

 

The Tree
The Pawpaw, known to botanists as Asimina triloba, is a small, tropical~looking tree, seldom taller than 25 feet. Grown in full sun, the Pawpaw tree develops a narrowly pyramidal shape with dense, drooping foliage down to the ground level. In the shade it grows tall, with a more open branching habit, horizontally held leaves, and few lower limbs. Shading for the first~year, and sometimes the second, is normally required, and it is for this reason that Pawpaws are almost always found in nature as an understory tree. Although the Pawpaw is capable of fruiting in the shade, optimum fruit yields are obtained in open exposure, with some protection from wind (on account of the large leaves). Plant at least two trees for fruit production, to ensure cross~pollination. Some Pawpaw patches never fruit, because all the trees are actually clonal root sprouts from one original tree. In such cases, the patch may be made to bear fruit by planting new trees in and around it, thus providing cross~pollination. Little Pawpaw trees coming up in a patch are usually root sprouts from larger trees, and do not have a sufficient root system of their own. This is why Pawpaw trees dug up in the wild rarely survve.

A passion for pawpaws

Thursday, September 18, 2003

By Suzanne Martinson, Post-Gazette Food Editor

LAKE SNOWDEN, Ohio -- Hint: A pawpaw is not a Division 2 football team. One bite of this fruit and you wonder why this taste of the tropics isn't in every grocery store.

 
   

Three reasons:

1. Pawpaws, also spelled papaw, are not the prettiest face on the plate. They're speckled, they're splotchy, and the riper they get, the uglier. It's too bad the name ugli fruit is already taken.

2. Their shelf life is short, maybe two or three days, a week in the refrigerator. Pawpaw lovers find 'em, wash 'em and eat 'em, spitting seeds all the way.

3. Pawpaws have had such a low profile that hardly anybody knows what they are, let alone have met one.

Once hidden under a canopy of trees in the wild, the pawpaw is now coming out into the open. Last weekend, more than 3,000 folks from as far away as Romania gathered in the autumn sunshine at Lake Snowden near Albany, Ohio, to celebrate the pawpaw and try to figure out how to grow the trees successfully and create a market niche.

Explorer Hernando DeSoto may have observed the Indians in the Missouri River Valley using them back in 1504, but today people even disagree on when they're ripe, says Chris Chmiel, who started the Ohio Pawpaw Festival five years ago. "The old-timers won't eat them until they're black," he said.

Three reasons to try a pawpaw or three:

1. For a testimonial, we defer to Meriwether Lewis, who passed through here nearly 200 years ago: "September 15, 1806 -- We landed one time only to let the men gather Pawpaws or the custard apple of which this country abounds, and the men are very fond of."

2. The yellow, sweet, custardy pawpaw ripens with a mystical pungency, redolent with the flavor of mango, banana and pineapple -- a tropical fruit far from the tropics. Some have an aftertaste of melon. A ripe pawpaw can be eaten right off the tree -- just slice, squeeze and slurp -- or used in dishes, from Pawpaw BBQ Sauce to Pawpaw Ice Cream, which is a delightful dessert that I first tasted at a Lewis and Clark dinner at the Pines Tavern in April.

3. If pawpaw aficionados have their way, their favorite fruit, an oldie-but-goodie that the American Indians have enjoyed for centuries, will become the Next Big Thing, perhaps the kiwi of the 2000s. Besides, the fruit the pioneers called custard apple and that today is known by names such as Shenandoah, Pennsylvania Golden and Sunflower is good for us -- three times as much vitamin C as an apple, twice as much riboflavin as an orange, twice as much niacin as an orange and about the same potassium as a banana. In fact, it's sometimes called the "poor man's banana." High in magnesium, iron, manganese and copper, it's a good way to imbibe protein, too -- pawpaws contain all essential amino acids.

Judgment day

 
Casey Buchanan, 10, of Athens, Ohio, chomps down during the pawpaw eating contest. Contestants must compete without using their own paws. (Jackie Belden Hawthorne photos for the Post-Gazette)  

Saturday was the first time Fred Dailey, executive director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, had ever tasted pawpaws, which have competed in hotly contested competitions as far back as 1917, according to an article unearthed in the Journal of Heredity. In that first contest, 70 pawpaws competed for a prize of $100. There were a baker's dozen in last weekend's competition.

Sweet Ashley, which arrived hard as a rock, never even got a taste, though.

"Don't eat this one!" warns Chmiel, one of the rare producers who sells pawpaws fresh in season and frozen pulp the rest of the time. "It's not ripe."

He cut Ashley open to show a white flesh rather than the golden meat of the perfectly ripe pawpaw. When the fruit is ready for picking, it yields when pressed with a finger and snaps off easily at the stem.

Chmiel introduced Dailey to the crowd as a "pawpaw virgin," one of a panel of three judges that included Amy Viny, a Cleveland freelance food writer, and me. Viny had tasted pawpaws before and was designated a "novice," as was I, who minutes earlier had enjoyed a hurried taste from the hand of a California grower. Sitting in the back of a steaming lecture tent, I wondered where to drop the pawpaw peel and seeds. Unlike a used Kleenex, the sopping skin left after the puree is sucked away is not fit for a pocket. If we drop these seeds, will they grow?

We judges knew what we liked but wondered and worried. "This isn't very scientific," said Dailey, who wore a white cowboy hat and a big smile the whole day long.

I figured the sponsoring Ohio Pawpaw Growers Association just wanted a "consumer" point of view. That's what it got. We were amazed at the range of flavors and smells from Asimina triolba. Viny went for the pineapple-y flavor of what was called the Flat Rock, as in Illinois, while I gave high marks to the Colgate, dubbed the "Hoosier banana."

Dailey and I agreed on the winning pawpaw -- Quaker Delight, named after the Friends who founded Wilmington College, where it was developed. The contest was a way to identify good-tasting fruit to propagate in the future. Prizes of $100, $50 and $25 were awarded.

Pawpaw's potential

Pawpaw may not be the path to fortune anytime soon, though its potential brought the University of Bucharest's Anna Rosu, who has her doctorate in biology, to Ohio last weekend. She thought pawpaws might be a promising crop for her native Romania. "It's not easy to get here," she said. "There's only one Greyhound a day." She and her journalist husband planned to join the Ohio Pawpaw Growers Association in an effort to learn more.

They've come to the right place. The largest known pawpaw -- 18 inches in diameter -- grows in Athens, Ohio.

One font of knowledge at the festival was Neal Peterson, who said he was "bit by the pawpaw bug" in 1976. By 1981 his hobby turned into, some would say, an obsession. "I lost my shirt" in the pawpaw business, he said. He left his government job, cashed in his retirement and used his savings to move to West Virginia to grow 3,000 trees. The drought of 1999 did him in -- the worst since 1936 -- and now he's trying his hand at selling pawpaws the trees, rather than pawpaws the fruit.

"I'm selling three of my best trees today," he said. Not the trees themselves, but grafted varieties such as Susquehanna.

There is still scientific work to be done. "The pawpaws that grow in the wild are 15 to 25 percent seeds," said Peterson. "Nobody would buy them."

A mature tree may produce 30 or 40 fruits, and a one-pound pawpaw is a big'un. More typical is a 5-ounce or 8-ounce pawpaw.

Growers suggest pawpaws as a landscape tree, but Saturday we overheard many people say their trees looked great, but the fruit often didn't show up.

Pawpaws are pollinated by flies and beetles, said Dr. Kirk W. Pomper of Kentucky State University, home of the world's only full-time research project on the pawpaw. "We have lots of cattle on the farm, so pollination is not a problem," he said with a laugh.

Like peaches, Pomper said, pawpaw blossoms are sensitive to frost, and trees should be grown on hillsides, rather than in valleys, where cold air tends to collect. The fruit grow in clusters and each ripens at its own speed.

"For two months, you might be picking the same tree every two or three days," he said. "You can't expect the same kind of high yields as apple trees."

Irrigation is probably a must for commercial production, and most pawpaw pulp would probably be sold as frozen puree.

Because of its fragility and short shelf life, the future of the pawpaw may be in one farmer, one farmstand, a limited supply at premium prices. This fall supplies are short and late because of the cool, rainy spring. Last year pawpaws were going for $8 a pound; this year it's $10 in some places.

Sweet rewards

Melani W. Duffrin of Ohio University in Athens has researched using pawpaw pulp as a fat-reducer in recipes, much as prune puree and applesauce have been used. She passed out a cake baked with pawpaw puree. Its quality was good and it disappeared quickly.

"A pawpaw is a very individual thing as far as sweetness," she said. "And the pulp can be thin or viscous. As production increases, using pawpaws for reducing fat may be a way to use lower-quality fruit."

Joyce Brown of Ohio State University Extension outlined safety tips. She suggested washing pawpaws with water, agitating the fruit in your hands as it's washed. "We don't recommend washing in antibacterial soap," she said. "Research has found it only kills 1 percent or 2 percent more bacteria than hand-washing in water. And the soap often comes in pump containers, which can harbor more bacteria."

The winning dessert in the cookoff was Pawpaw Cream Cake, which featured pawpaw filling, black walnuts and a meringue top. Its creator was Sharon Phillips, of Ohio University FoodMASTER (Math and Science Teaching Enhance Resources). Phillips uses cooking techniques to teach math and science to gifted students.

She was ecstatic when presented her plaque, and her cake produced many ooohs and aaahs.

Recipes were submitted on everything from brown lunch bags to formal entry forms. The winners were in four categories, which also included breads, beverages (there was a beautiful pawpaw soda and hot pawpaw tea) and sauces. (I liked the sweet Pawpaw Chile Sauce, which reminded me of Hawaii.) The challenge was making the pawpaw flavor come through.

It came through beautifully in the Pawpaw Pecan Pie, which was stupendous.

A day in pawpaw land was enough to make a person head for the woods in search of the fruit, which may eventually come to a farmers' market near you. If you're searching in the woods, keep an eye out for the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly, which lives on pawpaws.

Any fruit memorialized in Walt Disney's "The Jungle Book" is worth spitting a few seeds over. In the "Bare Necessities" song, who will forget Baloo the Bear comparing what it's like to pick a prickly pear rather than snatching a pawpaw:

"... you don't need to use a claw when you pick a pair of big pawpaws."

학소도에 핀 첫 인동꽃

<부레옥잠화>

what a pleasant surprise!!

나무(열매)치자의 꽃

이 꽃의 향을 한번이라도 맡아본 사람이라면 그 달콤함을 기억할 것이다

학소도로 금년에 이사온 구아바나무가 벌써 열매를 준비하고 있다

- 인왕산 鶴학巢소島도에서 최범석 -