ABOUT

Handcrafted Western Maryland Lemonade was born in the Cumberland Farmers Market. Being an avid gardener and greenhouse hobbyist, owner Todd Helmick began selling his bottled lemonade at the Downtown Cumberland Farmers Market while trying to keep up with sales of his garden produce and vegetable bedding plants. The lemonade seemed to be a big hit with customers so Todd kept experimenting by adding this freshly picked produce from his garden. He also realized that this region offered quite a bit of wild organic options such as black raspberries, pawpaw fruits, plums and maple sap...all a natural product of the Appalachian Mountains. Local and fresh is the key word here.

After visiting Farmers Markets at several locations across the country, it became apparent that local, freshly picked produce was becoming ever so popular with the American public. We have tried to instill that concept at Handcrafted Western Maryland Lemonade. Many of our products are seasonal, when the fruit is ready to be picked then the lemonade will be ready to be prepared.

All Handcrafted Western Maryland Lemonade is hand-squeezed fresh and refrigerated immediately. Most juice beverages on the shelf contain ascorbic acid or Vitamin C which has been added artificially. Even though most of these products claim to be all natural with no preservatives under FDA laws, these additions are without a doubt a preservative. We hand date all of our labels to insure that the shelf life freshness can be monitored.


Pawpaw Fruit
One of the most asked about products is our Paw Paw Lemonade. Paw Paw fruit is indigenous to this part of the country and grows wild in trees along the banks of the Potomac River. Not many people know about its existence, not even the local people that have existed here all their lives. The Paw Paw (sometimes spelled pawpaw) is an oblong shaped yellowish-green to brown berry colored fruit which contains many brown seeds embedded in the soft, edible pulp. The taste is similar to a mango/banana/cantaloupe custard and the fruit ripens in September around here. The floods of 1985 and 1996 along the North and South Branch of the Potomac River in this part of Western Maryland/West Virginia took its toll on the tree which bears the fruit so it's not so easy to find anymore. Making the product even more difficult to find is that the shelf life of a pawpaw is extremely short making it a not-so-usable item for the market shelf. Once a pawpaw ripens it remains edible for only a few days. All of our Handcrafted Western Maryland Lemonade uses the frozen pulp of the pawpaw during the months when it's not availble in trees, making it possible to sell this year round. The small town of Paw Paw, WV just across the river from Western Maryland, is named after the fruit. If you are interested in reading more about the pawpaw fruit here is a good place to start:

NPR
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2011/09/29/140894570/the-pawpaw-foraging-for-americas-forgotten-fruit

Pawpaw Fruit