The state fruit of Ohio is now in season and you’ve probably never even heard of it

It’s not your grandfather’s fruit but it is called a pawpaw and it is currently in season through October.

Ohio’s official native fruit grows throughout the state but is more common in the south.

Greg Shuck of Basketeria Organics at the West Side Market says they sold them last year and are expecting this year’s crop in a couple of weeks.

“They taste like a banana and a mango if you put them together. It has the texture of a banana,” Shuck said.

Because they are sort of rare, they are sort of pricey.

Shuck said he sold pawpaws last year for about $8.99 each and they are about a third of a pound.

As for when a shopper sees them, “They don’t know what they are, and if they do know they are ecstatic,” Shuck said.

In 2009 the state labeled the pawpaw the official state

“In the past 20 years, a little-known fruit called the pawpaw has experienced a resurgence, with many Ohioans growing, selling and eating their own pawpaws,” according to the Ohio Secretary of State website. “American Indians extensively used the pawpaw and introduced it to European explorers. The pawpaw has more protein than most other fruits,” the site said.

The name pawpaw appears to come from the fact that when you open one, the dark seeds inside make it look like a paw.

“They grow in Northeast Ohio and we have a nice stand of pawpaw in our Courtyard garden here at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History,” according to Renee Bortonka with the museum. “Since

they are a more southern species, they prefer the slightly warmer temps of southern Ohio and areas farther south.”

There is even an Ohio Pawpaw Festival coming up this weekend in Albany which is in southeastern Ohio.