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The Pawpaw Festival!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

One of my favorite photos from the 2008 festival.

For those of you who saw this post on Tuesday, then watched it and your comments disappear, my apologies. The monarch piece rared up and grabbed the spotlight. So here it is again. Whew. what a week it's been!

Celebrating pawpaws--we've done it in our own woods, and every September I like to celebrate them with others. In Albany, Ohio, right outside Athens, there's a little festival that reached its tipping point this year. Now it's a medium-sized festival, headed toward largeish.

Everything was good this year, better even than last. The big Percherons were still giving carriage rides. Picture the four of us stuffing ourselves with all manner of food made with pawpaws (a creamy white sauce over chicken breast, a pawpaw/peach/hot chili salsa, a pawpaw beurre blanc over scallops,

(all of the above made by Chef Dave Rudie)

who showed us how to flip onions in a sautee pan, which I'm sure I could do if I had hours to practice and a tarp on the kitchen floor.I just came from the kitchen, where, following Chef Rudie's lead, I made a pawpaw cream sauce sweetened with our own pawpaw pulp and some sourwood honey from the Smoky Mountains, a gift from our editor, Lisa White of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Heavy whipping cream, softened butter, caramelized shallots, salt, pepper, and a dollop of honey mustard...and heaven can wait. We're going to try it over pork tenderloin at Margaret and Zane's. It was just ridiculously good. How can you go wrong with that ingredient list? I totally winged it, no recipe--just remembered how Dave demonstrated it, and it was ossum as creamed possum.

But wait--there was more in the vendor stalls that we sampled, including a
pawpaw crepe, pawpaw jelly roll, and a pawpaw mango ginger mint smoothie to name just a few.

But wait, there was still more...great live music and a mess of our friends who simultaneously and serendipitously decided to make the hour-plus trek to Albany for the festival at the same time.
David and Zane consult an iPhone for something...iPhone users are forever consulting them.

We hung out and listened to the music and watched the kids dance with Oona, who can really shake her moneymaker.

There was a lot of moneymakershaking going on at the bandstand.
I lost track of Bill for quite awhile...he was watching the hula-hooping, I think. Who could blame him.

This is quite a different demographic than we are accustomed to seeing, only an hour and a half away. Having Ohio University in Athens certainly results in more interesting people-watching than we get in Whipple. For me, most of enjoying a festival is people-watching, but this one has delicious food and great music, too. I give it a five out of five.

Many of those interesting young folks brought their dogs--it's hard to find a place where you can bring your dog anymore.

I did not because, having brought Chet to the last two festivals and having had a loose pitbull straddle and growl at him in 2008, I deemed it not worth the angst or the constant pull on my arm. It's hard to drink a pint when there's an unearthly strong steady pull on your other arm.

This little pied beauty stopped every few seconds to scratch, another reason I was glad I hadn't brought my as-yet-flea-free puppeh.

A dog rumble went down--Chet would've gladly flown into the middle of it.
It was rowdy but friendly, and fun to watch. Dogs who are socialized can do this without getting all snarly. Chet's not quite there.
He likes to be Numba One. He'd have been Offisa Puppin' all over those dogs.

The moon rose, the pawpaw wheat beer was wonderful, and still the children played.

A man walked by with a little light that put sparkles on the ground

arresting the attention of a sweet baby who pointed (don't miss that tiny finger...) and then knelt to try to rub the sparkles out

charming me even more

And the moon rose in a pastel sky and Mary Jane showed us how to catch it

and Phoebe tried, but her photographer couldn't see very well, as the photo of Mary Jane attests...
but Phoebe could see the moon in the viewfinder, so with her help I finally captured the shining orb

and the sky went blank for a moment

nothing but watercolor tints I could never replicate.

As it got dark there hove into view a giant and hilariously funny pawpaw whose barely audible voice came from the depths of his foam costume, asking us to give him a high five
but he had no hands so we squeezed him instead. And nothing popped out.

Plan to come to the Pawpaw Festival at Lake Snowden in Albany, Ohio, next September. I guarantee you'll love it.

If you'd like to get some fresh pawpaws shipped, or, after they're out of season in late October, some frozen pulp to play with in your own kitchen, see Integration Acres' cool web site. We have them to thank for this wonderful festival, and for making "pawpaw" a household word in Appalachian Ohio. Well, in some houses. Soitainly ours.

Here end the pawpaw posts.


Oh...what a great day! Fall festivals are wonderful - one last day to gorge on summer fun. Maybe it's just because I'm from NH, but paw paws seem awfully exotic to me. I can't read that word without hearing the Bare Necessities and thinking of the prickly pear - also something exotic for a NH native!

Anyway, great shots, great festival, and thanks!!

Wonderful - you really captured the essence of a wonderful day! All the photos are my favorite one.

Thank You Thank You for the link to a supplier that can ship Paw Paws! After reading your post, I linked over, called, and 4 lbs are headed my way. I'm looking forward to trying them! :-D

I planted three pawpaws five years ago; couldn't find any native growing here. Between the free-range pet dogs, drought, tornadoes, and falling trees, I'll be dead long before they produce the first fruit. Nice to see you enjoying yours. Harumph.

Julie, It is so wonderful that we can celebrate this local exotic fruit. We are offering special paw paw food fare at our restaurant and are offering a paw paw facial at our spa. People are fascinated by these beautiful and nutritious fruits and we love teaching people about them as much as you do.

The orb, the children, the rowdy pups, the hula-hooping, and all. Everything combined for a great time. I'd be right with you in the people-watching booth. I enjoy that activity most of all. Chet was happy at home. Flea-less.

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