Fourth Annual Picking up Pawpaws Contest

9/14/2022 to 9/24/2022 | Bennett Spring State Park | Lebanon, MO

The pawpaw is Missouri's largest edible fruit. It can grow up to 6 inches long and is often compared to a banana with mango flavor. The fruit can be eaten raw or baked. Lewis and Clark were known to eat them on their expedition in 1806; Native Americans wove the inner bark into fibers for cloth; and pioneers used the inner bark for stringing fish. The pawpaw is also Missouri's official state fruit tree.

Can you find the biggest pawpaw? Peak ripening is in September. Help celebrate this edible part of Missouri's history from Sept. 14-24. We invite you to search your own private pawpaw patch to find the biggest pawpaw you can. Bring it to the nature center at Bennett Spring State Park on the dates and times below to be officially entered into the contest. 

Pawpaws will be weighed at the nature center Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pickers will provide their name and phone number along with the county in Missouri where the pawpaw was harvested. A photo will be taken of each picker and pawpaw.

For more information about the contest, call the nature center at 417-532-3925.

Click here to read the news release.

Click here for pawpaw recipes.

Contest Dates: Sept. 14-24
Weigh-in Times: Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
26250 Highway 64A, Lebanon, MO | 417-532-4338