Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's been a long wait

Like watermelons and fresh berries, fresh figs are an iconic fruit of summer.  They are nothing like their dried version, and once they ripen they are good to eat only for a day or so.  They are so delicate they don't ship well and I have seldom seen fresh figs available at grocery stores.  Even with home grown, it's a challenge to pick the fig at the proper ripeness, but before a bird pecks holes in it and ants infest the interior of the fruit.  But the sweet juiciness of a ripe fig, throbbing with the life force of sun and earth, eaten right there, on the spot . . . .

Here in the south a fig tree was always a given in the yard of the grandparents, providing loads of fresh figs to be eaten out of hand or rendered into "mammaw's fig preserves".
brown turkey fig tree
My grandparents didn't live in the south, nor were my parents from the south.  And I never experienced a fresh fig until I planted my own brown turkey fig tree as an adult.  My current fig tree was given to me by my artist friend Mary Cour Burrows.  She lives in her grandparents' (mammaw's) original farm house across the road from the house she grew up in.  The house is a craftsman style bungalow built circa 1920, a rarity in our upscale suburb of Memphis which was a tiny farming community from 1830 until a huge building boom in the 1970's.  About 11 years ago Mary had a "period" sleeping porch added on the back of her house, which necessitated uprooting her fig tree.  She was pregnant at the time and she didn't want to mess with finding a new spot for it, so knowing I was missing my fig from my previous house, she sent this one over for me.  When her husband hauled it out of the back of his SUV he knocked the top of the tree out.  Between that incident, and the increasing shade cast by a small oak tree, the fig grew more laterally than vertically.  But two years ago we got rid of the oak, and storms did away with some trees of the neighbors, and now the fig is growing upright and producing buckets of figs.  I picked the first ripe ones this week.

decorative garden cat "Belle"

linked to Tuesday Garden Party


Sweet Bee Cottage said...

Figs are big in my part of the country. There aren't nearly as many commercial fig orchards as there used to be, but in the big city there is even a wonderful neighborhood filled with homes with character called Fig Garden (from the fig orchards that used to grow there). I've always wanted to try a fig, but I never have. You've encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and I'll have to get one soon. (I do like Fig Newtons so I will probably like figs too. LOL)

Green Bean said...

Oh you are ahead of us! I'm in California and our figs are a wee bit behind. My oldest gorges himself on "figgies" when they are finally ripe. Enjoy.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

It's lovely that you were able to rescue that fig! I don't think I've ever had a fresh fig. I did notice that Home Depot was selling fig trees last spring and have thought about adding one to my garden. I just may now!

Lynn said...

Sounds really good. I've never tasted a fresh fig before.

Lady Farmer said...

I'm not keen on fresh figs (I think because my youngest daughter, the biologist, informed me that an insect of some sort, lives inside the ripening fig!) But I do love fig newtons! Have you ever tried making your own with your figs?
Your sweet little garden kitty, Belle, looks so much like my farm cat Harley, only he is a big fat guy.(Only he doesn't know it, he thinks he is still a cute little kitten that insists on being carried around drapped over my shoulder! And that was okay when he was a kitten, but now at 10 years old and 20 pounds ~ not so much! :~}
Anyway ~ thank you for dropping in at my garden blog, and for the sweet comment. Please come again for a visit at any of my other blogs, too!
Sweet Summertime Blessings!

Mindy said...

I looooove figs! I was planning on getting one this spring that I had read about. Supposedly it fruits well in a pot. But I completely forgot! DANG.