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May 17, 2010

Pick-your-own figs?

FigsI pass along an interesting item that popped up recently on the Google group Baltimore Food Makers. The post seeks basic fig-tree info, but it also raises an interesting question: why aren't there any pick-your-own fig farms out there? LV

More a gardening question than a food question, but since we all live in the same region, I was hoping someone would have helpful info. Does anyone have a fig tree? Do you wrap it in the winter? Is it a specific variety that has done well in this area?

Also, are there any varieties that tend to stay on the small side? I'm thinking about putting one in, but don't have a ton of sunny space. Although I assume I could just prune it to keep it from getting too large. I've also considered doing one in a large pot that goes in the basement in the winter, which I hear can work well, but it seems like moving it in and out and finding room in the tiny unheated section of my basement could be a pain in the butt.

Or ... are there any places that do "pick your own" figs? I've never heard of one. I'd really like access to lots of affordable fresh figs to make preserves, but I rarely see them available for sale anywhere.

I guess the perfect solution might be finding a friend who happens to have a tree on their property that they're not interested in harvesting, although that's probably not the case with any of you :)

I'm considering asking on Freecycle as weird as it will sound. Also...what month are figs ripe in Maryland? 

Sun file photo

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 11:49 AM | | Comments (16)


I had a Brown Turkey fig tree when I lived in Carroll County. Never wrapped it. Fought the wasps for my figs every year.

I think that there isn't a huge market for figs because they are so perishable. We have friends with a couple of trees, and we are always grateful when they are inspired to share their bounty with us. I think July and August are the months when they are ripe in Maryland, depending on the variety.

I live in the city and would love a dawrf fig tree for my patio or roof deck that will survive the winter. Any suggestions?

I live in the city and would love a dawrf fig tree for my patio or roof deck that will survive the winter. Any suggestions?

There are a bunch of fig trees in the backyards of Little Italy. You can grow a tree from a cutting too. If you know anyone in that area, ask if they'd share a cutting for a new plant.

Does anyone know where you can find black mission figs around here? I had them in a dish at Tapas Teatro and have been searching for them ever since. All I've been able to find are dried kalamata figs.

My father has had fig trees for years. He definitely wraps them up in the winter. As far as when they are ripe - believe it's mid-late summer at least in the county. They are the best!! He usually has so many he makes preserves or gives them away to neighbors.

It's really luck of the draw in terms of trees, especially fruit trees surviving a winter here. We had a peach tree that at a measly five feet high delivered gorgeous fist sized fruit only to be struck down the next winter.

A well advised pruning would keep a fig tree to an easily wrap-able height and circumference, as well as maximizing production. When it doubt, plant with a southern exposure to improve the chances of survival.

I seem to recall that Rob Kasper, who lives in Bolton Hill, has or had a fig tree. Also that there was a group in the Butcher's Hill area that does as well.

Greektown is FULL of fig trees in the backyards of numerous residents. Some are larger than others, but they are all planted in ground and survive through every winter. None of them are ever wrapped.

My grandmom has a fig bush. It was a fig tree until my late Pop Pop accidentally ran it over a few times with the lawnmower. Bush or tree, the fruit is still delicious.

Miller Nurseries, in upstate New York, sells winter-hardy figs.

My grandmother's neighbor on Bank Street had a fig tree in the yard. I never, ever remember them wraping it for the winter. The figs were always delicious, they would let my grandmother have the figs from the part of the tree that grew into her yard. I hope to have a fig tree in my yard some day.

I have had a fig tree in my yard in Middle River for 15 years. Very prolific. More than enough to make a case of fig jam every year. Don't wrap it in winter but let leaves collect around it. Survived all the snow we had this past winter.

My next door neighbor has one...doesnt do anything to it. My cousin in Bel Air has one...wraps it every year. BOTH trees produce an ABUNDANCE of ripe figs in late July/early August.

I just happen to pick from my neighbors neglected tree. BOUNTY for this italian girl!

You can find fresh figs in most middle eastern markets and Mediterranean markets

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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