Inside Columbia


A New View: Hiking

By Inside Columbia
A New View

Assignment: Hiking

The Location: Undisclosed Boone County

The house that I grew up in had a heavily wooded and unexplored jungle just beyond my backyard where my neighborhood friends and I would spend most of the summer. Wandering through that forest, we would create forts, fish in the lake or forage for anything edible we could find. We would find morels in the spring, wild raspberries and blackberries in the summer and, in the fall, we would try to gather persimmons and pawpaws.


The pawpaws were highly coveted. Not only were they hard to find, but you only have a few weeks out of the year when they are at peak flavor.

Recently, I stumbled upon a pawpaw patch I had not known about and, waiting until they were ripe, violently shook those trees to make as many fall as I could carry.

It’s surprising that a lot of people don’t know about this edible gem. The inside is yellow with large seeds and a kind of mushy consistency. The flavor is similar to a banana and you can make delicious pawpaw bread with the fruit. I recently found out that the pawpaw is actually North America’s largest native fruit.

When it comes to my new find, I will never share the patch’s location and hope no one else finds it next year.

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