Best Fig

berkeleyboyMay 2, 2010

First timer here. I have a small backyard garden and a corner patch that yearns for a dwarf fig tree. Went to my local nursery and they had a nice selection (Black Jack, White Genoa, Brown Turkey, Ischia Green, White Kadota, Italian Honey Fig, Black Mission, Texas Everbearing).

I love sweet, thin-skinned figs; somehow the brown-skinned ones appeal to me more.

Can someone suggest an appropriate cultivar for me?

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girlbug2(z9/10, Sunset zone 24)

My Black Jack has a fine flavor and texture, identical to Black Mission, which is widely considered a taste standard for figs. I do recommend it, especially as it is a somewhat smaller tree overall than the Mission and most home gardeners have to consider space. Missions and Black Jacks are well adapted to a variety of climates.

I have also eaten many Kadotas, White Genoas and Brown Turkeys. Kadotas are my overall favorite for rich, sweet honey taste, but the skin is somewhat thicker than Mission and it is a green/yellow variety. It does best in very hot summer regions (like the Valley).

The Brown Turkeys and White Genoas are very common in my area because they grow well in the semicoastal environment and the fruits are large. Neither tree gets exceptionally large, so home growers tend to like them for that reason also. They are both very easy to propagate. However, IMO they are bland tasting. I have heard a lot of other people on this forum blasting BTs for being insipid flavored, but some people also love them. It's all subjective.

Have heard good reports on the flavors of Ischias and Italian Honey figs, but never tried them myself and I don't know how well they grow in my climate zone.

I hope this helps you with your decision.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 5:32PM
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danab_z9_la

I would try to find a Violet De Bordeaux (AKA Negronne or Beer's Black). These figs are excellent tasting and have a somewhat similar flavor/texture profile of a good Black Mission fig. The skin itself has a very good flavor. The tree tends to be rather small. Too, the leaves of this variety are beautiful IMO.

Dan

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 11:57AM
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dieseler

Yes the VdB is a good tasting fig and in your zone i would think it would do great. I reported last season on this type as i was impressed about the taste and was curiouos so i took a ripe one and unlike me i peeled the skin and ate the skin first and such a wonderful taste on my palate. I never seen a poster report on eating just the skin .
Your Missions and Vdb figs are richer figgy tasting figs if sweet is what you like more so there are Sals figs out there and many others that the sweetness is more prevalent.
But like one poster mentioned here palates can be different.
Martin

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 5:05PM
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danab_z9_la

When evaluating the many fig cultivars in my trial rows, I pay close attention to the skin characteristics (thick or thin, its elasticity, color, and taste), the color and texture of the fig's meat (the portion that lies between the outer skin and its inside pulp).....note: I especially love figs where the usually white "meat" is actually stained in color. Also, I pay attention to the pulp itself (color, sweetness level, any fruit notes, juicy or dry, and any taste or crunchy texture from its seeds)...........but, that's just me, a certified fig nut.

Dan

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 7:16PM
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dieseler

Berkeleyboy,
i know what you mean about preference to dark figs, as a kid dad used to bring home figs all the time during the season from his Italian friends at the club on Sundays. He used to say "Marteen which ones you like better the dark or the white ones" and i said the dark ones and he would pat me on the head in agreement. Thick skin figs im not crazy about as i like to eat the fig with the skin cause it melds all together and its always been the case for me if you get a dark fig that has a real nice red color insides with seeds for a slight crunch bada bing you most likely have a good fig not just a plain sweet fig but one with a wonderful taste.Vdb and mission will fit you fine i think as will some other dark ones. Yes im partial to dark types only cause thats me (everyone different) but i do have 2 non dark ones for there looks and looks only. Panache and Jolly Tiger the rest of mine are dark types.
Martin

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 12:02AM
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danab_z9_la

I'm very partial to dark figs too. No so much for looks, but because they usually taste much better. Many dark figs go way beyond just sweet and give you that luscious figgy taste or a taste that is reminiscent of other fruit. Some give you a taste that lingers on the palate for several minutes after eating it.....what a wonderful quality. However, the best tasting fig of all of the many that I have tasted is a white fig. It is called Col De Dame Blanc (White). It has a very thick skin that must be removed before eating. When I eat one, I usually drop to my knees and thank the good Lord for such a wonderful gift and me living in an area that can ripen to perfection this absolutely delicious fig. Unfortunately this fig will not do so well in many parts of this country because it is a late season fig that requires some heat to ripen it before fall arrives.

For a great taste sensation, I love the way LSU Gold figs simply MELT in your mouth. It does not have a figgy taste or much of a fruit note to it. However, biting into one is truly like biting into a ball of honey. It is a juicy fig and the skin texture adds to that bursting honey sensation.

Dan

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 11:07AM
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berkeleyboy

Thanks to everyone for responding.

Yes, I'm in zone 9 (don't know if it's 9a or 9b) and I should have mentioned that we get lots of morning and evening fog during the summer. It comes through the Golden Gate, skims across the bay and makes a beeline for Berkeley. It's great for those hot days to see the fog coming in in the evenings to cool things down. Many people don't like the fog and move further east, but it's A OK with me.

But I see that many figs don't mature properly if they don't see a lot of sun. I've heard this is true of Violette de Bordeaux; girlbug2 mentioned Black Jack; same thing?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 11:13PM
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danab_z9_la

Attached is a link to a very good article written by a fig collector....Richard Watts. You will see his recommendations for fig varieties in coastal Southern California. Also, note that he states Celeste does well on the coast. Celeste is another great tasting dark colored fig. It has an edible thin skin and it can handle a damp climate. While especially good for fresh eating,the fruit also make excellent fig preserves. Celeste has been the king/queen fig in Louisiana long before California was even a state. It deserves its great reputation.

Dan

Here is a link that might be useful: Figs varieties for Southern California.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 10:14AM
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