I am so melancholy when September comes around- this is my last chance for fresh figs. I don’t live in California where the majority of figs are grown so I relish the last of the figs. I was in my local food store last week and bought all of the plastic clamshells they had left. Almost a third were gone by the time I got home.
Innovations in the fig business- both in the field and in shipping- mean greater availability and variety. I was so happy when one of my faithful tour alumnae from California sent me a recent article in her hometown newspaper, the Sacramento Bee. The article focused on Kevin Herman’s company, Specialty Crop Co.
Specialty Crop has over 4,000 acres of figs in cultivation which makes it the world’s largest fig grower. Herman commented that more fresh figs are being sold rather than dried; the ration went from 90/10 to 80/20, so more Americans are getting turned on to fresh figs.
There are more than 150 varieties of figs but 7 are the most popular: black mission, brown turkey, calimyrna, kadota, sierra, tiger and white Adriatic. At one time California had 57,000 acres of figs. That figure today is now 9,000 acres. More people are being introduced to figs by creative chefs. I encourage you to read the article because it has some wonderful recipes: chicken breast with feta and figs; grilled fresh figs with prosciutto and blue cheese mousse; fig salad with sticky date dressing; fig and blue cheese appetizer tarts and ocracoke fig cake.
There’s even more information at www.californiafigs.com