On a hot day in May, you can find Arnold Baham on his 33 sprawling acres land in Jackson, Louisiana. It’s where he’s tending to special trees, bearing special fruit.
“A lot of people do not know what a Mayhaw is” Baham said. “I always describe it as similar to a cherry that you would buy in the store, in a jar or something… it’s about that size. It’s a wonderful product for making Jelly” he explained.
The mayhaw is native to the gulf coast region, even more unique to Louisiana. Grown on the hawthorne tree and harvested during the month of May, mayhaws are like crab apples and their taste is wide-ranging.
“Primarily jelly is number one it’s also used as a syrup for your pancakes, it’s used as a topping for your deserts and it’s being looked at for other product development” Baham said.
Though growing and harvesting mayhaw is more of a hobby than work for Baham, it’s a hobby that requires some skill and some strength.
“You enjoy the harvest when it’s complete. The berries are pretty to look at they’re a bit of a pain to get off the tree, but we’re able to get them off and into the freezer” she said.
Baham will tell you, though, like anything you watch grow from the beginning, the payoff is worth it.
“It’s like growing a garden. You grow the product and of course you can consume it but it’s the fact that you see reality in the product” he said.
Like many other specialty crops, a successful mayhaw season is based on supply and demand. While this year’s season is ending, Baham is already looking forward to the next and sharing the unique crop from his corner of Louisiana with the world.