There are 1000s of fig varieties in existence, but fig varieties like Green Michurinska are worth learning about. Check out the other comprehensive variety reviews I’ve created on other fig varieties on the variety directory page found here:
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Similar varieties: None
Taste grouping: Complex berry
Size: Small to medium
Ripening period: Early to midseason
Rain resistance: High
Hang time: Average
Split resistance: High
Climate preference: Well adapted to all climates
Hardiness: Above average
Taste rating: 4.8/5
Light requirements: Average
Does it need pollination? No
Fruit color: Green with a red pulp
Soil pH level: 6.0-7.5
History and Other Information
Green Michurinska is a local Bulgarian fig that a Bulgarian collector introduced named PenandPike. Shout out to him. This fig is incredible along with another find of his called Vagabond. Both of these figs are among the best fig varieties when grown in less-than-ideal humid climates.
When Green Michurinska was introduced to US growers, it was said to be an earlier ripening Adriatic fig. That's quite the claim as the Adriatic figs are among the best-tasting fig varieties you can find, but they all ripen relatively late in the growing season making them difficult choices for growers in cold or short-season climates.
If you think about the best-tasting fig varieties like the Coll de Damas, Black Madeira, Smith, and others, none of them ripen early. That would be truly amazing.
I guess you could make an argument that Smith, Hative d'Argenteuil, Planera, Campaniere (when really well ripened), and a new fig to me called Castel Trosino could all be classified as some of the best tasting and "early enough" fig varieties. Nonetheless, an early Adriatic fig would be very special.
So... what is an Adriatic fig anyway?
Originally known as the White Adriatic, is one of the primary fig varieties that played a pivotal role in California's commercial fig cultivation, standing alongside the Black Mission variety. In Italy, where it's widely cultivated, it's recognized as Verdino. During my 2023 visit to Tuscany, the prominence of the Verdino tree in local homes was underscored by commercial grower Siro Petracchi, who mentioned that there was a time when almost every household had one.
One of the significant attributes that give the Adriatic fig its commercial edge is its delightful taste, even when not fully ripe. This characteristic is beneficial as many figs are often harvested before peak ripeness. This is especially useful for home growers who might struggle to identify the optimal ripening period.
Over the years, the Adriatic fig has been renamed multiple times, leading to its widespread recognition and, consequently, numerous synonymous names. For clarity and simplicity, passionate fig enthusiasts typically group these variants under the 'Adriatic' category. To illustrate the extent of its variations, there are over 25 different fig varieties that can be equated with the original White Adriatic.
Though these varieties might have the same genetic base, there can be discernible differences, attributed to epigenetic shifts and mutations. An authentic Adriatic fig should embody the defining characteristics of the original White Adriatic. Key identifying features include its green exterior skin and a rich, deep-red pulp that offers strawberry and raspberry flavors. However, it's crucial to note that not all figs with green skin and red interior are genuine Adriatics. It’s not solely about the colors.
Want to learn more about Adriatic figs? Check out this article to learn why they’re among the best-tasting fig varieties you can grow.
So is Green Michurinska indeed an early Adriatic fig?
Once skeptical, I now agree with respected fig grower, Kelby Taylor’s original claim. My pause has mainly been due to Green Michurinska’s highly variable flavor from year to year, but in 2023, the eating experience was very similar. If blindfolded, I wouldn’t know the difference.
It has the same intense strawberry/raspberry flavor, good acidity balanced with sweetness and it even tastes great underripe if you have to pick it early before it rains.
In 2023, it also ripened somewhat early. I don't recall exactly when, but definitely around the same time as Hardy Chicago and other "early" figs. It also produced 2 separate and distinct crops of main this season after doing a technique called River's pruning. As of October, I am enjoying high-quality figs from this tree even in unbearable fig weather.
River's Pruning Fig Trees
I first discovered the River’s pruning technique detailed in the book "Fig Trees of the Balearic Islands" authored by Monserrat Pons. This method involves carefully pinching off one-third or all of the immature terminal buds on fruit-bearing shoots.
As we know from previous discussions, summer pruning aka a technique known as pinching promotes new growth and potentially hastens the ripening of figs below the removal of the apical bud. Once the apical bud is removed and combined with the application of missing nutrients and soil moisture, fresh branches will sprout turning 1 fruiting branch into multiple.
These branches will, in time, yield new figs that are set to mature later in the season increasing production by over 100% and allowing the grower to time their harvest away from unfavorable weather conditions.
To read more about River’s pruning, check out this detailed article here.
Other Characteristics of Green Michurinska
If we can classify Green Michurinska as an Adriatic fig, it logically must be the best choice within that grouping for those in shorter-season climates. Although, I don't know if it produces a breba crop reliably. I would give the edge to Proscuitto if you're looking for that characteristic.
Green Michurinska has high vigor and high production, they dry on the tree easily, and they rarely split. It's also quite hardy. The Mother tree photographed growing in zone 7 is massive and it has survived here in my zone 7A climate for multiple seasons.
Therefore I would recommend growing Green Michurinska in cold places for its hardiness. In humid places for its elongated shape, short hang time, and great flavor even when harvested underripe. In warm/dry places for its must-try and top-of-the-line Adriatic flavor profile.
It's overall one of the best figs I have grown.