Paw Paws

Picking up paw paws, putting ’em in a basket. Way down yonder in the paw paw patch. An old children’s song, and that’s what we did yesterday, thanks to Greg’s boat and a long pole.
These paw paw trees were right on the river bank with limbs over the water.The trees were intermittent and small, but you could see their fruit from the boat. Sometimes we got out of the boat to shake a tree, but mostly we whapped the limbs with a log aluminum pole and watched the paw paws plunk into either the water or the boat – once on my head. Fortunately paw paws float, so water rescue was the name of the game.

If you’ve never eaten this fruit, you ought to try it. A creamy, custard-like pulp that makes great pies, breads or even ice cream. Reminiscent of ripe banana. Of course, it is best just squeezed out and eaten. It also freezes well for use during the winter holidays, much like persimmon pulp does. Greg makes a cream pie out of them – ersatz banana cream pie !!

Here is a link to a video and blog post from NPR about paw paws.


Lobster Digging

Sept 10, 2013. Went out to the 100-pound patch again today. I’ve been checking it every few days since the middle of August. Last year the great fruiting of Lobsters was between August 10th and 15th. Five days ago I found 4 or 5 concealed (see the video) lobsters and then a couple of more Sunday morning. Today I got 5 pounds. BUT, I only saw just a small tip of two. The others were all TOTALLY concealed by pine needles. What I did was stand in the middle of an area were we had picked last year and looked around for a slight lifting of the needles and then scraped the duff back revealing a lobster. Hopefully in 2 or 3 more days they will be popping above the needle litter so they can be spotted easier. I took this video  Lobster video of what I am writing about.

A number of times, when I scraped back the duff  I found an unparasitized Russula brevipes (pictured above). R. brevipes is believed by many to be the primary host of Hypomyces lactifluorum, the parastic ascomycete fungus that parastizes a host mushroom producing the distinctive rough red texture, preventing gill development, and, in an alchemy-like way, turning an inedible mushroom into one of the very best of edibles – prized in fact. I am including the slightly out of focus picture below that shows an unparasitized Russula and a small Lobster growing in an almost conjoined fashion.

I find, over and over, this host and Lobsters in areas where they are the only macrofungi to be found. I’m convinced that this is the host – at least where I have picked Lobsters. The host may be different in other locations.