In the video is an in-depth tasting analysis and insights into the features, quality, and performance of each variety, grown in the Philadelphia area. There are also special considerations on topics like weather impact on fig flavor and a comparative tasting of different Hardy Chicago types. Specific figs such as Campaniere, Ischia Black, Martinenca Blanca, and many others are assessed and described in terms of taste, texture, appearance, and more.
A Couple of Announcements...
In addition to the tasting analysis, I want to announce my plans to publicize future fig tastings exclusively here on the blog to work further on the fig variety directory and to increase site traffic & SEO. Additionally, I wanted to remind you all that my public presentation about fig cultivation in the Philadelphia region is taking place this Saturday, August 5th from 1-3 PM, with a follow-up Q&A and meet-and-greet session.
Growing fig trees in a greenhouse offers several distinct benefits, particularly for those in shorter-season climates. First and foremost, it allows for an early start to the growing season, which is crucial for figs that typically ripen between August and the first frost and require 150 to 180 frost-free days. By using a greenhouse, growers can awaken the fig trees from dormancy well ahead of the last frost date, thereby accelerating ripening dates.
Additionally, a greenhouse provides a controlled, dry environment that can shield fig trees from rain and prevent critical issues during the fruit's final ripening stage. Excessive moisture, which can lead to spoilage, mold, and an increase in fruit flies, can be mitigated. Moreover, the controlled environment prevents the fig's skin from absorbing too much water, which can decrease the soluble sugar levels and result in a decline in fruit quality, taste, and potential spoilage. By maintaining this controlled atmosphere, higher fruit quality is ensured.
Pastiliere - The most pleasant surprise so far this year. It's no wonder many well-respected fig growers would choose this fig if they could only grow one variety. I’ve noted no dropping on my 2-year-old container Pastiliere tree. It’s a sugar fig that’s approaching a strong berry flavor/fruitiness. It’s filled with mountains of fig nectar and is very sweet. My young tree is also very productive even producing doubles at specific nodes.
Campaniere - Each year this fig changes and gets better. Every variety changes. That’s no secret to experienced fig growers, but this fig really demonstrates that. Recently, the figs are tasting like Smith. It has far more berry flavor than ever before if I’m remembering correctly. In the past, I would have classified it as a fruity sugar fig, but now that’s not the case. It’s truly spectacular. And to boot, my in-ground Campaniere I believe is going to blow my container Campaniere out of the water. The production on that tree and others should start within the week.
Marseillaise - Another small and easy-to-dry fig variety like Nerucciolo d’Elba & Verdino del Nord. I have to keep an eye on the split resistance, but so far it’s superb.
Noire de Bellone - In France, Bellone used to be called the queen of figs before the Coll de Damas became popular. I can see why. The texture is exquisite. It’s a nice performer too and ripens thus far at a high quality every time.
Salce - A fig from a grower named Mario in Kentucky. Quite underrated and underappreciated. It’s a very fruity fig. Similar to LSU Tiger and Rossellino. There’s still a lot of maturing to do on my young tree, but I love it and it’s clearly a high-quality variety.
Squeglia (Mario’s #9) - This fig closely resembles Monaco on the outside, but the inside is more akin to a Paradiso fig. Mild, but superbly textured. It’s very good.
Pernette Noire - This variety used to be sold by Figaholics, but due to unpopularity, Harvey dropped it from his sale. That’s a bit upsetting now that I’ve finally decided to grow it and evaluate it. It’s a clear upgrade to the typical Black Mission fig. Short hang time, a long neck, and a nice flavor. The skin however has a slight bitter component. That might be a turnoff for some. I personally enjoy the sweet/bitter contrast.
Nin ZS - This fig was found in the city of Nin, Croatia by the collector Michal Hladky. In fact, it was found in the same town as Nin V, which is also mentioned in this blog. Both of which are spectacular finds. Nin ZS is densely textured, fruity, and I’m expecting great performance.
Ischia Black (USDA) - I was surprised to learn that this is more of a sugar fig than a berry fig. I ate some last year, but many of them split. Now that I have close to perfect fig weather, I’ve finally got a decent handle on this fig. It’s a high-quality sugar fig, but as high quality as they come. The problem is its open eye, splitting, and higher levels of FMV. When perfectly healthy and ripening from my in-ground tree, I will reevaluate and I’m excited for that day.
Marangiana - One of the better honey figs coming from Italy. It’s very interesting when ripened long enough and allowed to fully develop its flavors. It’s got a tropical fruit flavor and is more interesting than your typical honey figs like LSU Champagne or Dottato. Right up there with Zaffiro & Barbillone and is a cross between a sugar and honey fig. I strongly urge growers in dryer locations and fans of honey figs to acquire and try this variety. You will not be disappointed. It’s a clear upgrade of Dotatto & Golden Rainbow/Yellow Long Neck.