Register your pawpaw(s) from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. on Saturday in the pop-up tent just outside of the Pawpaw Tent. To enter, one must provide three fruits from the same tree for sampling and all three fruit must be at the Pawpaw Tent by noon for weighing. Only one entry per person is permitted in this event. To collect prize money, winners must provide scion wood or bud wood from the winning trees for use in the variety trials organized by NAPGA.
The Best Pawpaw Contest recognizes the characteristics that make a good pawpaw, including the many nuances of pawpaw flavor. Judges will rate each fruit will receive on a score from 1 to 5 in each of the categories below. The fruit with the most points wins!
Weight: What is the perfect eating size for a pawpaw? Is bigger always better? For this spectacular pawpaw gathering, each fruit will actually be weighed to score this category.
Appearance: What does a perfect pawpaw look like? Some are perfectly oblong, others are almond or peanut shaped. Appearance is subjective, but the judges know that a perfect Susquehanna is very fat and round whereas the perfect Shenandoah is much more oblong.
Skin Surface: How does the fruit look? Judges are looking for smooth and unblemished, not bumpy and blemished.
Aroma: How does this fruit smell? An appealing and complicated aroma is great; a fermenty odor is not.
Skin Thickness: Thicker pawpaw skins would help reduce the fragility and perishable nature of the fruit, so more points to the tougher-skinned fruits.
Seeds: Though the seeds are pretty and can be used as beads, planted for new trees or used for the medicinal and pesticide properties, we judge the fewer seeds the better.
Front Flavor: How is the fruit flavor? The more the judges like it, the more points are awarded. Although this is subjective, the judges know to look for banana, mango, and other subtle flavors along with the perfect sweet/acid balance.
Texture: The pawpaw fruit can be firm, custard-like or mushy. We are looking for the smooth custard-like texture that only the perfectly ripe pawpaw can have.
Aftertaste: What flavor elements linger on your palate? Are they fruity and pleasant or bitter and rindy? The better the aftertaste, the more points awarded.