The New Standout Fig Varieties so far from 2021

Out of my continual trials, these are the standouts so far from 2021. Shockingly there's quite a few more to come that I believe will impress me. I am very excited about the genetics I've been able to attain as 3 of the 5, I believe belong in my top 10. These are judged on how they perform overall in my low light humid climate. The main criteria thus far is based on flavor/texture, hang time, shape/stem length and how that relates to rain/split resistance, the skin and how that contributes to absorption or shedding of water, drying capabilities, ripening period and the sunlight requirement to set the fruit buds and how that relates to production.

All the varieties mentioned ripen either early or mid season. Within a reasonable time to ripen fruit reliably here and to perform as an in ground tree.

First up is Salato. It's a local Italian variety grown by a few European hobbyists. Reminds me a lot of Bellone, but I have limited proof to suggest they are the same. The fig is densely textured, highly flavored, has an average hang time, the stem length is desirable, but the shape is on the less slender side, overall split resistance is good, the skin's water absorption rate seems about average (this could be because the tree was transplanted in ground in June and did not appreciate the lack of water in its new home), drying capabilities are better than average, the sunlight requirement to set the fruit buds is low and therefore production is high on this tree (the wide natural angle of the branches definitely contributed to this fact and therefore light requirements may not be low, but instead the wide angle of the branches is suitable to attain the light requirement desired).

Nin V is next. It's an unknown from a Czech grower, Michal. This fig was found in the town of Nin in Croatia near excavations of a church, hence the translation of "V" to excavations. At first glance of the exterior, it does show similarities to Golden Celeste, but upon opening the fig, I was very surprised to see that the interior was dark red and not anything like a honey fig that Golden Celeste is. Having said that, the shape is perfect (like a Celeste). The skin however still needs evaluation, but I strongly believe in this fig's rain/split resistance. The flavor is high. Again.. I still need to further evaluate this fig for accuracy purposes. Light requirements are low. Hang time is average. Drying capabilities unknown. Of the 5 mentioned, this is the most unknown to me.

Next is Vagabond. This fig comes from PenandPike in Bulgaria. It's blue skinned, unique and strongly grape flavored. Overall eating experience is high. Especially when dried as this fig can and will dry somewhat on the tree here. So drying capabilities are much better than average I think on this one. There are very few cracks if any, splitting is very low and I believe the skin positively contributes to not absorbing water from rain. The shape is somewhat ideal. The way it hangs I imagine could be troublesome. However, no splitting was observed even through rainy periods. Light requirements unknown. I think the tree is still too young to accurately judge this category, but it does seem densely productive. Hang time is shorter than average.

Pissalutto is the next fig. It's a well documented Italian variety that can be found all over the world. It's written about in nursery catalogues, Condit's monograph and even depicted in Gallesio's drawings. I can assure you that the flavor rivals and is similar to Smith. Easily one of the best tasting figs I grow. It's superb and complex. The shape and stem length is ideal, but minor splitting was observed recently after an inch of rain. The skin I don't believe contributes in a positive or negative way towards water absorption. Hang time is lower than average if desired to pick early. Drying capabilities unknown, light requirements low and therefore production is high. Overall a very special fig worth further study.

Lastly is Black Celeste. This I believe is at least the 3rd best fig I grow. Verdino del Nord (VR) and Nerucciolo d'Elba have superior drying capabilities and will resist all of the damage from moisture, but the skin on Black Celeste enables it to take very little damage to begin with. It's been amazing to observe this variety (along with other strains of Celeste), but I've noticed particularly on this variety how well the fig is unaffected by moisture. It's quite incredible. The shape/stem length is ideal. Drying capabilities are there. The hang time is low if desired and the production is there, but light requirements seem to be about average. Further evaluation on that front is needed. The flavor, texture and amazing pigmentation will definitely be a crowd pleaser. I have no doubt.

Lastly, some additional standouts are: Dall'Oso (Belfiore), Green Michurinska, Sister Madeleine's Yellow & Verdone (Nikky).

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