Thursday, September 06, 2007

Pawpaw Punch at the Downtown Farmers Market

Last Sunday Sept. 1, there were pawpaws at Baltimore's downtown farmers market. They weren't for sale, but just a few small ones were displayed at the Helium Brothers falafel stand. The idea was to create awareness regarding America's largest native fruit and to sell punch refreshments featuring pawpaw pulp blended with fresh blackberries, water, and cane sugar. This punch was by far the best beverage I've ever tasted at the farmers market. Only with luck is it likely to be served up again, at least this year.

All the pawpaws were from a lone tree in the yard of a Middletown, Maryland home next door to where self-employed stone mason Adam Fisher had been working. Baltimore is home to Adam, however. On Sundays he teams up with his Hamilton neighbor, Adam Kandel, friend Whitney Frazier, and whomever else they recruit to work the farmers market. Adam had long been conscious of and curious about pawpaws, but never knew where to find them. After spotting the tree in Middletown, he contacted its owner who was kind enought to say "pick all you want." I recently met up with Adam in Frederick to chat about pawpaws. He doesn't have much free time to go looking for them, and the season will be over in a couple weeks. However, he's passionate on the subject and determined to come up with more. If he hasn't by this Sunday, perhaps the following Sunday, and if not then, next year for sure.

Pawpaws or no pawpaws, Adam and company will have fresh punch this Sunday. If they don't get more pawpaws, Adam is contemplating a punch featuring peaches and flavored with lavender. Meanwhile, the falafel is wonderful. It's freshly made on premises from soaked garbanzos and served with tahini sauce on bread from Near East Bakery. Particularly interesting as well as delicious are the with mix or match toppings. Choices include beets with honey and lemon; cucumber and dill; basil and tomato; or cumin and onion. All are sourced and prepared on site.

PS: The author is a pawpaw fanatic, and it's possible that over time the coverage they receive here could seem out of proportion. The first post ever of Unique Culinary Adventures was about pawpaws, and today's post will certainly not be the last.