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Varieties that Perform well in the Cold Fall vs. the Warm Summer

I wanted to talk today about fig varieties that perform well even in colder weather.

While a lot of our figs can ripen actually in the summer, figs are a technically a fall fruit. We're really lucky to have access to early ripening varieties. It's also amazing how genetically diverse Ficus Carica is and so a lot of us if we choose the right variety can actually ripen a full crop of figs before the really cold fall weather sets in. But what about the late ripening figs? I think we all want fresh figs throughout the summer and the fall. And what about the cold weather?

Why is the cold weather important for fruit quality? Well as I've discussed in a prior blog post, "What to look for when Choosing the RIGHT Fig Variety for Humid Climates" - The fall weather brings a lot of challenges because the metabolisms of our fig trees slow down. The soil temperature is what dictates how slow or fast they ripen figs! So if we have a lower soil temperature of lets say 50F, we'll have a hard time ripening figs quickly. The hang time and susceptibility windows will increase. If it takes 6 days for a fig to ripen in that final ripening stage during the summer, in the fall that time can double! And that means, we'll run into a lot more problems like critter damage or rain. Figs that have this short hang time or susceptibility window actually have the ability to ripen figs quickly not only in the summer, but also in the fall. This is one of the many reasons why those varieties are so important.

Another factor to consider is actually how good the fig tastes even when it's not picked perfectly. The hang time by my definition is how long it takes before I pick my figs in that final ripening stage that every fig goes through. But I love to let them hang, fully develop their flavor and even shrivel. Some figs don't taste very good unless you let them fully develop and intensify. Others like the Adriatic figs, which is the classification of figs I'll be focusing on today can be picked very early and still taste fantastic. This allows them in the cold fall weather when the metabolisms have slowed down to allow us to continue to enjoy eating figs. Actually all the way up to and even past frost. These figs are by no means perfect in this cold weather. I'd still prefer a fig with a short hang time because it's quite rare to enjoy a perfectly ripened fig without that characteristic, but if I can pick them earlier and still thoroughly enjoy them, well then I think we all can succeed and that's worth sharing. So that's what today's blog post is about. The Adriatic figs.

What is an Adriatic fig? It's a fig that was originally called White Adriatic and was commercially grown as one of the first fig varieties in California along with Black Mission. Because it's such a great commercial fig and it also by the way has a very rich flavor, it has been propagated and renamed so many times in the US. It's sold by most fruit tree nurseries actually. This is why we refer to these figs as a classification. Because there is so many names for virtually the same fig. Like we discussed before when talking about Celeste or Hardy Chicago, there are at least 25 Adriatic figs with different names. These figs could very well have the same genetics, but because of epigenetics it's not uncommon to observe differences. The definition of an Adriatic is clear though. It must match the original White Adriatic. These figs have a distinct shape while on the tree unripe. The fig below has actually plumped up a bit in its final ripening stage.

They also have a green skin and a red richly flavored strawberry/raspberry flavored pulp. Just because it's green skinned and has a red interior, that does not place it in this classification. For example, Ponte Tresa is very different than this classification. You can see below that it has a "similar" shape and similar colors, but I can assure you that they're entirely different.

Here is actually a short list of Adriatic figs. There are more, but I've stopped adding to the list:

Battaglia Green


Green Ischia

Harry's Crete

JH Adriatic

Proscuitto Unk

Rockaway Green

Sister Madeline's Green Greek


Strawberry Verte

Texas Strawberry

Unknown Lake Spur

Vasilika Sika (VS)



Some other photos of Adriatic figs:

And here's a video I published explaining these figs:

One of my favorite Adriatic figs is called Proscuitto. Proscuitto seems to be ripening faster than the others allowing it to shrivel on the tree. So Proscuitto is combining both of what we look for. A short hang time and the ability to taste great even when under ripe.

Another fig worth mentioning is Italian 258. It also can taste great when under ripe and for that reason, pretty much everyone enjoys the flavor. As for the figs with a shorter hang time, I'll save that discussion for another time, but you should know that these figs are very hard to beat in cold weather. They outperform pretty much all the others without a short hang time. Plus they're also very rich and flavorful, which makes them truly a valued treasure.

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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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