ANNOUNCING A NEW PAWPAW: TALLAHATCHIE
Neal releases this – his seventh cultivar. The name Tallahatchie honors a river in the American South where pawpaw is native. A ballad evokes the Tallahatchie River – Ode to Billie Joe. https://youtu.be/mFeftQkqg-M
Neal discovered this clone in row 10 of his orchard at the Wye Research & Education Center (Maryland). It was a seedling from a tree growing at the Blandy Experimental Farm. Because of its all-around high quality, he identified this pawpaw as one of the nine best Advance Numbered Selections. Consequently, it was propagated in the Regional Variety Trials, conducted at various universities.
Tallahatchie has impressed many people. Snake Jones of Kentucky State University swore that it should always be included in making pawpaw ice cream. In 2017 three different pawpaw enthusiasts wrote, singing its praises. They had tasted it in the Regional Variety Trials, and wished to grow it.
Initially Neal had reservations about it, and had not named it at the same time as Shenandoah, Susquehanna. He loved the flavor – exquisite, perfectly balanced with a floral note. He admired its few seeds – 5% S:F ratio, midway between Shenandoah and Susquehanna.
But he found the large clusters problematic. Tallahatchie often bears more than five fruits in a cluster. This is fine in a backyard setting, but for orchards is problematic. Pawpaw fruits do not ripen simultaneously within a cluster; so repeated harvest of a cluster must be made over a period of days. Too often a fruit falls from a cluster seconds after a fruit is picked.
My fellow pawpaw fanatics, I yield! By popular acclaim I release Tallahatchie. It is a fine cultivar with few seeds (5%), exquisite flavor, smooth silky texture, medium-large size (9 oz av), and a ripening season that is medium to late.