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6 Fig Varieties that Rose in the Ranks from Prior Growing Seasons

Updated: Feb 2, 2023


The video above details a lot of my thoughts on these varieties and the process of why this is happening. Check it out!


Reasons for the change of heart


For two different reasons and maybe it's a combination of both I saw very high fruit quality on a number of my in-ground trees in 2022. Specifically, the increase in fruit quality was from the trees that survived my mild winter lows and because they survived, they were able to produce fruit on older wood rather than on very fast-growing suckers like I normally see.

What happens when figs ripen from fast-growing suckers


These suckers have a tendency to not fruit much at all due to a hormonal imbalance, but because they also grow so much, those shoots can reach 10-15ft in one season!
  1. All of these additional leaves and lack of fruit set produces a much higher amount of carbohydrates, which I believe is being stored in a higher quantity in the fruits on those particular suckers.

  2. This increase in carbohydrates you could argue would make the fruits potentially sweeter or have a higher brix, but I think what it's actually doing here is dramatically changing the fruits. Especially in regards to the size and skin.

  3. When fruits are larger, they definitely don't perform as well as smaller fruits in humid climates. They also don't taste as good. They typically have more problems with moisture because of a larger surface area and so my opinions on these figs have dramatically changed from prior seasons.

I covered a lot of in-depth topics regarding fig fruit quality in my interview with Eric Durtschi. Check it out below!

In 2022, there was a drought


We also had a drought in the northeast, which should decrease the size of the fruits and therefore improve quality.

It's hard to exactly pinpoint what the true reasoning is, but I have a hard time believing that the fruit produced on older wood rather than suckers from the base doesn't consistently produce a higher-quality fruit.

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The fig varieties that have become more impressive



The Grise de St. Jean fig I’m learning is absolutely fantastic when it gets established. I've noted during this season that across the board, it has the desirable skin quality that I look for that allows a fig to shed water rather than absorb it. Similar to Celeste or Smith.

I was also able to taste fruits from an older in-ground tree that I planted and they were incredible. Although this tree did not survive the winter and the fruits formed on suckers, the berry flavor was coming through on this in-ground tree a lot more than from the fruits ripened from potted trees.

See the thumbnail in the video above for what clearly looks like incredible fruit quality.

The downsides of this fig are that it takes a while to get established\ and it's also not very cold hardy, but the texture, flavor, and commercial potential are all top-notch. Because of those facts, I've been growing a number of sources of Grise de St. Jean.

One called Loretta that I've mentioned in videos as being what I thought was my favorite, but actually my somewhat established in-ground Grise de St. Jean from Prusch park that we mentioned above is proving to have the best berry intensity. I'm quite fond of that one so far, but across the board, they're all fantastic figs.



In the past, LDA has been double the size they were this season. They were still large (70-100 grams), but because the fruit was being produced on older wood rather than on suckers, the figs are smaller and therefore don't split as often.


In fact, none of them did this year, while in the past at least 50% had. I am still concerned with its size. And unfortunately, the skin on this fig can absorb water easily in rainy periods leading to spoilage.

Nonetheless, it's a very tasty fig that even has a sugar flavor similar to cotton candy. It has a nice berry flavor and a unique flavor profile that only White Triana I would place in the same category. It's actually one of the best tasting figs you can grow.



I've thought of this fig in the past as a Celeste but double the size. It's more than that. The skin is incredible and uniquely chewy and sweet. It does taste similar to Celeste, but the berry is a bit more intense than some of the Celeste figs.

This year none of them split or even cracked. They dried on the tree very easily and even through rainy conditions! I couldn't believe it. This fig is incredible and is now what I would consider one of the best figs I grow. It's certainly the best fig in this blog post.



Has been deep red inside all year. In the past, it has been red too, but the berry flavor came through a bit more this year and I would classify it more as a berry fig than a honey fig. A great performer in the Honey Berry category, which is more difficult to find within fig varieties.

The figs had better skin this year that rarely cracked, but after big rains, it did split. That's my one concern with it, but it was better than ever this year and certainly is a really great choice.



This is a fig that Big Bill grows at offthebeatenpathnursery.com - Bill says on his website that it's a good “workhorse” Hardy Chicago. Even speaking to him recently about it, I don't think he would say that it's a great-tasting fig, but in my dry soil where it's planted, this fig has produced some berry figs with a remarkable intensity.

It was even a favorite at the local tasting I hosted, which you can find here:

Truthfully this fig was fantastic even last year, but I do think it got a bit better this season. It's small and like Azores Dark, it tends to dry easier and intensify better in lower humidity because of its size. I have no complaints about this fig.



I don't know why more people don't like this fig. It's a Sugar Berry fig, but the berry flavor is quite strong. You just have to let it ripen longer. That in itself is a big problem as a lot of growers still don't let them fully develop their flavor.

Florea aka Michurinska-10 can split and I think that's this fig's biggest downfall, but it dries well, is extremely hardy, and it produces quite tasty & early figs. This one in addition to Sicilian Dark is planted in the front of my property on the North side in drier soil. That drier soil makes a huge difference, which is why I'm having a hard time believing that some of these figs will perform the way they did this year.

You can read about the benefits of having dryer soil here: - It’s critical for fruit quality.

Conclusion


In 2022, the fruit quality of different fig varieties changed for various reasons, including the survival of the trees through mild winter lows and the effect of drought in the northeast.

The Grise de St. Jean, Longue d'Aout, LSU Tiger, LSU Hollier, and Sicilian Dark fig varieties have all shown an improvement in quality and taste. These figs either have desirable skin quality, unique flavor profiles, or good commercial potential. However, some figs still have downsides such as slow establishment and low cold hardiness. Despite this, the figs produced on older wood rather than suckers have consistently shown higher-quality fruit.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I'm Ross, the "Fig Boss." A YouTuber educating the world on the wonderful passion of growing fig trees. Apply my experiences to your own fig journey to grow the best tasting food possible.
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