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The Pawpaws are Uponpon Us

Pickin’ up paw-paws, puttin’ ‘em in her pockets,
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch. —The Paw Paw Patch Traditional folk song

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Recent walks along the James River and I can report that the Pawpaws are ripening. In some areas it smells like the night after a frat tiki party, sticky tropical fruit smells fill the air.

The Pawpaw tree is the largest edible fruit tree native to North America. The trees produce their namesake pawpaw a greenish-blackish fruit, usually three to six inches long. As we get closer to fall some areas along the river will smell more tropical than normal as the fruits fall and decay/ferment on the ground. They are one of the only two fruit trees native to Virginia. The American persimmon is the other one.

If you’d like to do some cooking with your harvested pawpaws this page from the Kentucky State University has the most straightforward set of recipes. Don’t just dive in however,  some folks will experience digestive irritation and nausea when trying the PawPaw. So dip your toe and make sure your stomach can deal with the PawPaw.

Be warned humans aren’t the only ones that like the Pawpaw.

Virginia Native Plant Society

The fruit is relished by many species of wildlife as well as humans. Deer, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, mice, wild turkeys and many other species of small mammals and birds eat the ripe fruit. In contrast, the crushed leaves smell a bit like asphalt and are extremely distasteful to deer and other herbivores and are rarely browsed. Interestingly, Pawpaws are the sole host for the beautiful Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly, whose caterpillars feed only on the foliage of the Pawpaw, eating the tender new leaves and gaining protection from predators from the same chemical that makes the leaves so distasteful to herbivores.

Native tribes used the Pawpaw not only for food. The inner bark was used for rope, string, and lacing. Splints were used for basketry and matting. The wood was used for firestarting for hand drills and fireboards as well as bow and drill. The leaves and stems were used for medicine.

To find a Pawpaw tree look for understory trees. In this area they really like to be near water, thus you’ll find them along the James. The leaves are oblong, narrow at the base, then broadening towards the tip before coming to a point at the end. They droop in a downward direction, giving a tree in full leaf a very distinctive appearance. The bark of the Pawpaw tree is brown and smooth with wart-like splotches called lenticels. These appear as pale gray patches.

For the record, if hit by a falling pawpaw it does indeed hurt and surprise the living hell out of you. I speak from experience.

More on the name pawpaw from Wikipedia:

The common name of this species is variously spelled pawpaw, paw paw, paw-paw, and papaw. It probably derives from the Spanish papaya, an American tropical and sub-tropical fruit (Carica papaya) sometimes also called “papaw”, perhaps because of the superficial similarity of their fruits and the fact that both have very large leaves. The name Pawpaw or Papaw, first recorded in print in English in 1598, originally meant the giant herb Carica papaya or its fruit (as it still commonly does in many English-speaking communities, including Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa). According to Douglas Harper’s Online Etymology Dictionary, it began to be used [presumably in North America] “from 1760 to designate the papaw tree” [meaning not Carica papaya but Asimina triloba].

Daniel F. Austin’s Florida Ethnobotany states that

The original “papaw” . . . is Carica papaya. By 1598, English-speaking people in the Caribbean were calling these plants “pawpaws” or “papaws” . . . [yet later, when English-speakers settled in] the temperate Americas they found another tree with a similarly aromatic, sweet fruit. It reminded them of the “papaya”, which had already become “papaw”, so that is what they called these different plants. . . By 1760 the names “papaw” and “pawpaw” were being applied to A. triloba.

Yet Asimina triloba has had numerous local common names, many of which compare it to a banana rather than to pawpaw/papaya (i.e. to Carica papaya). These include: wild banana, prairie banana, Indiana banana, Hoosier banana, West Virginia banana, Kansas banana, Kentucky banana, Michigan banana, Missouri banana, the poor man’s banana, Ozark banana, banango, and asimoya.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Community

Fox Elementary PTA Christmas Tree Sale is Live

Is it too early to talk about Christmas trees?

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Posted by the Fan District Association.

The beloved Fox Elementary PTA Christmas Tree Sale is live!!!

Just like last year, the sale will be PREORDER only. No trees will be sold on the day of pick up. Please consider supporting the Fox PTA and buying a beautiful Balsam Fir, Fraser Fir, or wreath. Proceeds allow the PTA to continue its mission of supporting Fox teachers, students, and families.

Please go to https://app.memberhub.gives/foxtrees to order.

Trees and wreaths can be picked up at Clark Springs Elementary on Friday, December 2 from 3:15-6:00 pm or Saturday, December 3 from 9:00-10:00 am. On Friday, December 2, we will also host a community event with playground fun, hot chocolate, holiday music, Fox merchandise (perfect gifts!), and crafts. Remember the Christmas tree shortage last year? Order yours today.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Community

Weekend Radar: Richmond Folk Festival, Carnival of 5 Fires, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Mending Walls Bike Tour and Brunch

After a dreary week the weather is perfect for a Richmond Folk Festival and I’ve even picked a few other things for you to do this weekend.

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Richmond Folk Festival at Brown’s Island & Tredegar
October 7-9th

I’m very tempted to stop the list right here. This is hands down the best festival in all of Richmond and arguably Virginia. Three days of free music (make sure you donate so it can stay free), cultural events, beer, and food. I’ll be there for every hour and I think you should be as well. I even helpfully created a Top 5 Must See Acts.

The Richmond Folk Festival will return in the fall, live and in person, to celebrate its 18th anniversary the weekend of October 7-9, 2022. The festival has become one of Virginia’s largest, drawing fans each year to downtown Richmond’s riverfront to celebrate the roots, richness, and variety of American culture through music, dance, traditional crafts, storytelling, and food. Featuring six stages and showcasing music and dance from more than 30 artists from around the nation and the world, the Richmond Folk Festival promises, as always, to return with a culturally diverse and impressive program.

The free, three-day event is presented by Venture Richmond Events, in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the Center for Cultural Vibrancy, Virginia Humanities, the Children’s Museum, and the City of Richmond.

Carnival of 5 Fires at Gallery 5
October 7th

Gallery 5 is getting into the fall spirit and it’s always a good time.

The Embalmers return to Gallery 5 for one of our favorite events of the year, Carnival of 5 Fires!!! Come help us kick off spooky season!!!


The Rocky Horror Show at Richmond Triangle Players at the Robert B. Moss Theatre
Shows throughout October including tonight October 7th

Let’s all do the time warp again. If I need to say more you need to do some research and get back to me.

With music, lyrics and book by Richard O’Brien, “The Rocky Horror Show” salutes the science fiction and horror “B movies” of the Golden Age of film.
A newly engaged couple gets caught in a storm and winds up (by accident?) at the home of a mad scientist, Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter, who is throwing a party to unveil his new creation, a sort of Frankenstein-style monster in the form of an artificially made, physically perfect muscle man named Rocky Horror.

The musical opened in 1973 in London and played for over seven years, winning critical and audience acclaim in the process. It is probably best-known for its film version, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which premiered in 1975 and became a midnight-show cult classic for multiple generations of movie-goers all over the globe.

Playing the central role of Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter is Durron Marquis Tyre, who recently starred in RTP’s productions of “Falsettos” and “Sugar in Our Wounds.” Newlyweds Brad and Janet are played by August Hundley and Nora Ogunleye, with Frank’s attendants Riff Raff, Columbia and Magenta played by Elle Meerovich, Madison Cox and Kasey Britt. Frank’s creation, Rocky Horror, is played by Wayne Parker, the mysterious Eddie (as well as Brad and Janet’s mentor Dr. Scott) by Travis Williams, and Jim Morgan (who played Frank ‘N’ Furter in RTP’s previous production) as the Narrator who holds the evening together. The Phantoms and Transylvanians are played by Mara Barrett, Robert Gallant, Rachel Garmon-Williams and DeVon Mosby.

RTP’s production is directed by Chelsea Burke. Music direction is by Ben Shaver and choreography is by Kate Belleman. Scenic Design is by Frank Foster, Costume Design by Sheila Russ, Lighting Design by Michael Jarett, and Sound Design by Joey Luck. Projections Design is by Lucian Restivo, Props Design by Tim Moehring, Hair and MakeUp Design by Joel Furtick and Intimacy Choreography by Stephanie Tippi Hart. Saskia Price is the Assistant Stage Manager and Lauren Langston is the Production Stage Manager.

For the safety of the performers, our patrons, and the staff, masks are required to be worn inside the venue – completely covering the nose and mouth — anytime you are not actively eating and drinking. Patrons are asked to please bring a mask that is comfortable enough to wear throughout the evening.


Mending Walls | Bike Tour + Brunch
Throughout October and November with the next on October 8th

Ride a bike and learn about some of the amazing murals in Richmond and the message they represent.

In Richmond, VA public art is one of the city’s biggest assets in the downtown area. As a city with one of the largest collections of public art in the United states we now have the unique opportunity to use public art as a tool to bring empathy and connect at a time when we need it the most.

In the midst of a global pandemic in 2020 America was faced with another brutal killing of a black man at the hands of the police, which set off an uprising that has filled our streets with voices of objection, to the systemic racism here in America. With some of our feelings and demands now physically on Richmond City walls through tags, these expressions leave and mark a space for questions and conversations to happen. These actions inspired the artist Hamilton Glass to start the Mending Walls project.

Join Bike and Brunch Tours for a ride through neighborhoods like Jackson Ward and Brookland Park. These and other neighborhoods we tour are steeped in culture and history but also the new home to murals in the Mending Walls project.

This tour highlights the stories of trailblazers, residents, and organizations behind or continuing the legacy within these communities. This one of a kind, easy pace, casual tour aims to exude positive vibes, treat our communities and the residents with respect, and nourish the mind and belly.
Ride, see Richmond, have fun….and of course have brunch!

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Crime

Richmond Police identify 83-year-old victim struck and killed by vehicle outside Libbie Market

The driver of the vehicle, an adult male, remained on scene.

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From Richmond Police:

The Richmond Police Crash Team has identified the individual who died after being injured in a collision in a parking lot on Libbie Avenue as John Busch, 83, of Richmond.

At approximately 8:15 a.m., officers were called to the 400 block of Libbie Avenue, in the parking lot of Libbie Market, for the report of a person struck by a vehicle. Officers arrived and found a male, Busch, down and injured in the parking lot of a business after having been struck by a vehicle in the lot. He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injury.

The driver of the vehicle, an adult male, remained on scene.

The RPD Crash Team responded to the scene and interviewed the driver and witnesses. The investigation is ongoing. Investigators have not placed charges at this time.

Anyone with further information about this collision is asked to contact RPD Crash Team Sergeant D. Cuffley at (804) 646-3135.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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