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Pawpaw: In Search of America's Forgotten Fruit: Bottomland Book Club

the book held by a cluster of pawpaws

Review by Jessi Cole

Those who remember and know America’s largest native fruit seem to be a number less and less with each passing year. The pawpaw, once a vital and integral part in the diet of Native Americans and early American explorers, often quite literally hides in the shadows of oaks and elms, of hickories and flowering dogwoods.


Author Andrew Moore sets out to explore every aspect of the modern and historical pawpaw, from those farmers attempting to create a genetic pawpaw revolution to people across the pawpaw country who pass down the knowledge of wild pawpaw groves from generation to generation.

He travels from Ohio all the way down to Louisiana, stopping to canoe the Mississippi river in search of pawpaws, to attend the largest annual pawpaw festival, to talk to just about every local he comes in contact with about their knowledge of pawpaws, and to spread the word about the delicious fruit every chance he gets.

There’s science and there’s folklore, history and travel. Moore expertly wields the readers’ attention and creates an absolute fascination for the fruit for both pawpaw enthusiasts and newcomers alike. After reading the book, I myself have been obsessed with finding pawpaws in the wild around Tennessee and Mississippi, and I can’t wait until I have my own land where I can plant the trees by the dozens.

Hunters, foragers, farmers, outdoorsmen—this is a book you must read. Native fruits are a wonder to be celebrated, and pawpaws deserve their place in the hearts of all.

Order your copy through your local bookstore!

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