I Need Help Choosing a Fig!

peebee1October 17, 2011

Hi, I've been reading posts here about figs and had decided to buy my first ever fig tree, specifically the Brown Turkey based on favorable reviews. Then I went on the Fig forum, and the expert poster there, who even has his own website selling an amazing variety, mentioned that the world seemed to be divided into 2 parts, people who like Brown Turkey, and those who don't. Yikes! I have never eaten a BT before, I assumed it would taste more or less like a...fig. By that I mean the black ones, like Mission figs. I am not picky; I think I will love all figs. My local farmers market is woefully unenlightened when it comes to naming the fruit. Most just have signs saying Figs. Some might say Mission Figs. That's it.

So, what should I buy for my location, near LAX about 5 miles from the coast? Is BT similar in taste to Missions?

Can someone who has grown both tell me what difference there is in taste, productivity, etc? I don't want to buy a BT only to find I belong to the second group.


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NorCalNiko(USDA 9 Sunset 16/17)

I would suggest reading up on the fig forum, or at figs 4 fun. The problem is that there are several kinds of BTs. Southern are different from the common California BT. Generally, CA BTs are a bit less flavorful than some other choices. Black Missions are very good. I like Violette de Bordeaux. Vista is similar to VdB (some say genetically identical, but my Vista is very different in form to my VdB) and is very prolific. Panache tiger figs are great too. In the end, most figs taste pretty similar to one another, so you can't go too wrong. BTs can grow very large. VdB tends to be a small to medium sized tree.

Environmentally, figs usually like it hotter than average, but Missions and VdB do very well in a cooler maritime environment. They are desert plants and like well-draining soil. If it's cool year-round where you are, panache is maybe not the best choice... I know it's not cool year-round at LAX, but the environment there is very variable from one location to another.

There are so many variables, you might want to just do some research.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 7:54PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

When I lived in Watsonville, four miles from the coast, most years the Mission fig never would ripen, the brown turkey always did. To me one tastes as good as the other. Al

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 7:51AM
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Thanks for the input. After some more research, I've narrowed it down to Mission or VdB, whichever I find at this good nursery in Jan. They probably will have both. I will probably go with the one that is smaller, the VdB, for my home and buy the Mission for the garden plot at my workplace. I've convinced the owner to yank out 2 ugly useless small landscape trees, and will plant a fig and maybe an oro blanco citrus.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 12:25AM
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I've been really happy with my fig choices: Black Jack and VdB. Both trees stay on the small side, but BJ fruit is large and honey-ed, while VdB is small and jam-like. They seem to compliment each other. Not sure how well they will do for you near LAX.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 10:04PM
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