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Pernette Noire Fig | Comprehensive Variety Review

There are 1000s of fig varieties in existence, but fig varieties like Pernette Noire 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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And check out my recent video on this variety to learn more about it below!

Varietal Characteristics

  • Origin: Figaholics

  • Categorization: Unknown

  • Similar varieties: Black Mission (not a synonym)

  • Taste grouping: Sugar Berry

  • Texture: Jammy

  • Size: Small to Medium

  • Ripening period: Early to Midseason

  • Vigor: Unknown

  • Rain resistance: Above average

  • Shape: Pyriforme

  • Hang time: Below average

  • Split resistance: Above average

  • Climate preference: Well adapted

  • Hardiness: Unknown

  • Taste rating: 4.6/5

  • Light requirements: Unknown

  • Productivity: High

History and Other Information

Originally grown and sold by Figaholics in California, this fig variety never picked up traction with buyers, leading to its discontinuation in sales. What captured my attention was its distinct elongated shape, which is advantageous in humid climates. This unique shape, characterized by a short stem and a long neck, allows the fig to hang with its eye facing the ground, making it less susceptible to rain damage during the ripening process.

Photos of Pernette Noire

Rain poses a challenge to many figs, as they tend to absorb moisture through their skin, causing them to expand and split. But the elongated shape of Pernette Noire, with its eye facing downward, might make it less vulnerable to rain damage at its most sensitive location. I've observed that some figs, regardless of their shape, possess skins that repel water rather than absorb it, which minimizes the risk of splitting. Thus far, Pernette Noire does a great job repelling water.

Regardless of its rain resistance, Pernette Noir ripens somewhat quickly. Its hang time is short leading to a higher quality and a well-ripened fig more consistently. This short hang time allows Pernette to be picked before and after rains almost avoiding the issue completely. They're also frequently found dried on the tree. During hot summer days, this fig is shriveled on the tree in only 3 or 4 days.

Similarities to Black Mission

The appearance of Pernette Noire is reminiscent of the much more common Black Mission fig, which initially deterred my interest. Many Black Mission variants have disappointed me in the past due to their susceptibility to cracking, splitting, and poor rain resistance. However, this fig’s performance, flavor profile, and texture pleasantly surprised me. While it has similarities to Black Mission figs, its rich, jammy pulp sets it apart. Though its flavor leans more toward sugary and figgy rather than an intense berry flavor, its slightly bitter skin adds an appealing complexity.

Photos of Black Mission

All of this elevates it above the typical Black Mission fig. For those seeking a superior alternative to the Black Mission fig, Pernette Noire is an excellent choice. Its productivity and performance have also persuaded me to plant it in my garden. It truly embodies the essence of high-quality fruit, and it's unclear why other serious fig hobbyists have not given this fig variety a fair chance.

Often, certain varieties are overlooked or underappreciated, only to be rediscovered and celebrated later on. Pernette Noire's journey from relative obscurity to renewed appreciation is a testament to the evolving nature of horticulture and the endless pursuit of the perfect fig. Its standout features, especially its resilience in humid climates, make it a noteworthy contender in the world of fig cultivation. The rediscovery of such hidden gems encourages enthusiasts to delve deeper, seeking out overlooked varieties that might just be the next big thing in the fig community.

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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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