Ohio actually has two state fruits. The tomato is of course the big winner. Ohio is one of the nations largest producers of tomatoes, but they're not natural to Ohio originally. As an avid tomto grower, I can attest that they are not natural to Ohio because each year it seems something will rise up and cause havoc among my tomato plants.
So, to share in the glory is a fruit that is natural to Ohio.: the pawpaw. The pawpaw became the official state's natural fruit in 2009. For those that have never tasted a pawpaw, it's something like eating a tropical fruit with an Ohio flair.
The pawpaw commonly grows in floodplains and shady, rich bottomlands where it often forms a dense spreading undergrowth in the forest. The pawpaw often appears as a patch or thicket of individual small slender trees. Pawpaws are not the first to colonize a disturbed site (arriving roughly four years after a clearcut), but may become dominant and slow the establishment of oaks and hickories. Although shade-tolerant, pawpaws do not persist in undisturbed old growth forest. Pawpaws require winters like we have in Ohio: ones that seem to last forever, or at least 400 hours. They also require at least 160 frost-free days. Our climate is exactly what the pawpaw tree needs and thrives in. In fact, pawpaws are only found naturally in the midwest. Neither the east or west coasts can claim any naturally grown pawpaws in their area.
Native Americans were very fond of the pawpaw and are mostly responsible for spreading the fruit throughout almost all of the state. According to tradition, the pawpaw was one of George Washington's favorite fruits. Today there is the Ohio Pawpaw Festival in Albany, Ohio (just southwest of Athens) which is held in early September.