Why Grow Figs?
In the book Grow Figs Where You Think You Can't, I start with a simple message for readers: In places where figs don't usually grow, fresh, garden-grown figs outshine store-bought figs on your palate. No question.
Here's what I say in the book:
A fig picked too early never ripens to perfection. It’s just a corky, semi-sweet thing passed off as a fig. Contrast that to a truly ripe fresh fig, which packs a succulent burst of jam-like sweetness. That perfectly ripe fig is far too fragile to withstand long-distance shipping. And that means many people living in colder climates have never experienced one. It also means that store-bought figs passed off as fresh are rarely truly ripe.
My first exposure to figs was to the dried sort. I don’t mean to disparage dried figs, but they would not be reason enough for me to go to the effort of growing figs in my garden. When people say they don’t like figs, I’m immediately suspicious that they have only tried dried ones.
In the garden, waiting for figs to ripen can test the patience of any hungry fig pig. But then the change happens: The neck becomes soft, the fruit droops and becomes soft to the touch, and sometimes a glistening drop of nectar escapes from the eye.
Even if you have a source for ripe figs, fig trees in the garden offer something else: superb architectural qualities. No other plant combines grey, elephantine bark, exotic leaves, and the warm feel of a Mediterranean climate.
More from the book Grow Figs Where You Think You Can't