KSU's world-renowned paw paw orchard: Kentucky's native fruit

Best Paw Paw Orchard: KSU's Research & Development Farm in Frankfort, KY

Beargrass Thunder was excited to return to the Harold R. Benson Research & Development Farm out in Frankfort, Kentucky. After our previous visit in 2019, we were looking forward to see how things have progressed, and ask some questions from our viewers.


Kentucky State University has the only full-time pawpaw research program in the world as part of the KSU Land Grant Program. Sheri Crabtree, Horticulture Research and Extension Associate, along with Dr. Kirk Pomper, Dean and Professor College of Agriculture, were kind enough to give us a tour and well as speak about pretty much anything you could possibly want to know about paw paws.


We talked about KSU's three paw paw cultivars: the KSU Benson, KSU Atwood, and the KSU Chapelle. They answered all of our questions, ranging from simple facts regarding the paw paw's seasons of ripeness, how to harvest them, and tips for growing your own paw paw orchard.


We also discussed more advanced topics such as improving propagation methods, developing orchard management recommendations, conducting regional variety trials, understanding fruit ripening & storage techniques, and germplasm collection & characterization of genetic diversity.

Unsurprisingly, we had an absolute blast talking to Sheri and Kirk out at the farm, and seeing all the amazing this KSU program has to offer.

Thanks again for having us - we're looking forward to returning soon to check out some other amazing programs happening at the research farm!

Check out our interview with Kirk and Sheri from the last time we visited their facilities in 2019:

and for a throwback, watch out previous tour and see if you can spot the differences: