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  • Gateway Fig Cultivars

    There are a few easily available, hardy, productive and tasty cultivars that may be considered "Gateway" figs. My personal gateway figs were also selected by flavor group. These would be my recommendation as introductory cultivars. They also increase the length of harvest with early, mid and late season cultivars.

    Honey... Italian Honey
    Sugar... Celeste
    Adriatic... Conadria
    Bordeaux... Violette de Bordeaux
    Dark... Hardy Chicago

    What cultivars do you consider to be Gateway figs?
    Last edited by Kelby; 01-06-2016, 09:15 AM.
    Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

  • #2
    Mission, Desert King and Brown Turkey are certainly gateway figs. Maybe not the best, but those are varieties that get people interested in this obsession!

    If someone who knew nothing about figs asked me what to get, I'd probably say Hardy Chicago.

    I would say a short list of 5 for hardier figs would be: MBvs, Adriatic JH, Improved Celeste, Malta Black, and Takoma Violet.
    https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
    SE PA
    Zone 6

    Comment


    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks... Your "short list of 5" has three (3) cultivars from the same Flavor Group... Dark (Dark Berry).

    • Kelby
      Kelby commented
      Editing a comment
      True, Pete. I mostly was considering ease of growing.

  • #3
    Originally posted by Kelby View Post
    If someone who knew nothing about figs asked me what to get, I'd probably say Hardy Chicago..
    Agreed. Easy to grow and captures the grower's interest to see what other varieties are out there.
    Frank ~ zone 7a VA

    Comment


    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, That's also my reason for selecting the easiest to grow from each flavor group...

  • #4
    Does gateway mean personal favorite?
    Dennis
    Charlotte, NC /Zone 8a

    Comment


    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello Dennis,
      Welcome....

      IMO, gateway means easy access to plants and an almost guaranteed successful growing experience with edible figs as the rewards.

  • #5
    Dennis,
    In this context Gateway refers to cultivars that are readily available, easy to grow, are relatively early ripening and taste good. It may or maynot be a personal favorite just a good overall fig.
    Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

    Comment


    • #6
      I think I am missing the sugar gateway fig (Celeste). Also, I did not realize that Conandria is an Adriatic type (ie green outside, red inside, right?). At any rate, it appears that I am missing an entire class of gateway figs. Must rememdy ASAP. Or, would Atreano count as a sugar-type fig?

      Comment


      • AscPete
        AscPete commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello Donna,
        Welcome to the community...
        IMO, Celeste is Sugar and Atreano in Honey....
        Although Conadria is a Hybrid its an Adriatic Hybrid with red interior and berry flavored pulp.

      • Kelby
        Kelby commented
        Editing a comment
        Pete, didn't Condit use Adriatic as the female for most/all of his crosses?

      • AscPete
        AscPete commented
        Editing a comment
        That I don't Know.
        but Condit was trying to get a 'Calimyrna - like Common Fig with a small osteole that didn't need caprification.'

    • #7
      Oh snap, I have Golden Celeste! It was the first one ever, a start from Barry 2 years ago. It didn't produce any figs yet. Last year, it came back from the dead in mid-July or so. Maybe I'll taste it this year. Pete, do the Adriatics all have green skin?

      Comment


      • AscPete
        AscPete commented
        Editing a comment
        IMO, The LSU Golden Celeste aka Champagne is a Honey, due to its sweet creamy taste.
        Yes, the Adriatics are green to gold skins with red berry flavored pulps.

      • BLB
        BLB commented
        Editing a comment
        all your really good figs came from me lol

    • #8
      West Coast would probably have to include Mission, as it is readily available and does well. Some of the Missions around here are ancient.
      USDA Zone 9b Wish list: Abruzzi, Pasquale, Filacciano, Tagliacozzo, Zingarella, Godfather. Any, including unknowns, from Abruzzo, Italy.

      Comment


      • AscPete
        AscPete commented
        Editing a comment
        I would agree, for the warm dry zones...
        I've never had much success with the mission cultivars in my zone, late ripening and cold tender.
        Most of the listed varieties have proven themselves in most zones, even in the Pacific North West.

      • Gina
        Gina commented
        Editing a comment
        I would second Mission. Here in Cali, they do very well. Seeking a Mission is what sucked me into this Alice in Wonderland Fig FreeFall.

    • #9
      OK, so now that my humidity tent is full of RdB, Nero 600M, Smith, Stella, Preto, Col de Dame and a few other of what I think would be considered top tier figs, what am I supposed to do with the 30 or 40 "gateway" figs I started last year?

      Just because a fig is readily available, isn't it still worth growing? Seems like there must be a reason these ones have become so common.

      Comment


      • #10
        Paul,
        The Gateway figs designation refers to figs that could be recommended to beginners in the hobby due to good flavor, ease of culture and availability...
        I personally grow several different cultivars of the same named Gateway figs, trying to find the cultivar that grows best in my location.

        The point is exactly that, they're readily available, they could and should be grown by most everyone. These particular cultivars will provide an introduction into the various fig flavors with the least cost and investment of time.
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

        Comment


        • #11
          I recently asked a question in... some other fig forum. I wanted to know which of my current cultivars would be good candidates to use in my fig cordon. My options included VdB and Vista (among others), which I thought were both supposed to be very good. The general consensus was, don't use ANY of my current cultivars and wait for something better.

          Comment


          • AscPete
            AscPete commented
            Editing a comment
            Taste is subjective, but VdB has one of the best flavors for a "common" fig. In your location you could grow almost any cultivar and you have most readily available. You could do what I usually recommend, grow the VdB (or any cultivar) in a 5 gallon container with the best available culture and decide on the taste for yourself. In your zone it would only take one (1) season.

        • #12
          LOL
          Gateway Fig
          a fig (such as Celeste or Hardy Chicago) that is thought to lead to the use of more dangerous figs ( Black Madeira or Galicea Negra).
          Frank Tallahasee 8B
          North Florida Figs

          Comment


          • AscPete
            AscPete commented
            Editing a comment
            YES!!!
            You gotta start somewhere.
            Last edited by AscPete; 02-23-2015, 06:12 PM.

        • #13
          What to do with the gateway figs you have decided not to keep? I give mine to anyone who wants one. They are good, so why not? I have purposely killed a few trees because I thought they were absolutely mediocre and didn't want anyone to have something substandard and hence negatively judge figs - Brown Turkey does enough of that. But true gateway figs that could lead one to a more serious habit? They should live.. just not all of them in my yard.
          SoCal, zone 10.
          www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

          Comment


          • AscPete
            AscPete commented
            Editing a comment
            Do you have any particular cultivar that you consider "Gateway" in addition to Mission?

          • drphil69
            drphil69 commented
            Editing a comment
            Lol, BT got me into figs! It was my first (fresh) fig ever. It was way sweet with very little fig flavor. Did I mention I like sweets?

            I am looking forward to the "better" varieties, but I will always love my first... brown turkey... lol.

        • #14
          Frank - exactly what I was thinking - gateway figs lead to those more dangerous for your wallet.

          Isn't your gateway fig a slightly regional affair? Like for instance Black Mission for the West Coast, Celeste and Brown Turkey in the South, and Unknowns from the Italian/Portuguese next door in the Mid Atlantic/New England area?

          On the other hand, forums like this one make all sorts of first figs possible. My first figs were Adriatic JH and Marseilles Black VS and they were followed shortly by Sal's Corleone. I don't think those would have been my firsts if the fruit hadn't already been spread so popularly by others.
          RI Zone 6a
          Container Herder

          Comment


          • AscPete
            AscPete commented
            Editing a comment
            The listed cultivars can and have been grown in every region of the country...
            Last edited by AscPete; 02-23-2015, 10:09 PM.

          • PasturedFigs
            PasturedFigs commented
            Editing a comment
            Right. But maybe I'm imagining the reality of how you got hooked on figs to begin with - someone socially close to you. A family member or neighbor who walked you into the culture and shared the fruits, provided peer pressure and even enabled the "habit." As that process would organically follow a regional basis it seems logical "Queen Celeste" might be a Southerner's first fig or Black Mission, a Californian's. This list will be great for those looking to economically accumulate the accompanying utility figs to that initial one - And a new hoarder is born.

          • AscPete
            AscPete commented
            Editing a comment
            I was given a few fig cuttings by a co-worker who knew I was an avid gardener... Did some Internet Research at a Fig Forum, ordered a few inexpensive 1-gallon plants on the internet... May 2012 , collected cuttings of several local "found" cultivars tasted over a dozen different cultivars of my home grown figs by October 2102 Here are some of my original Gateway Cultivars... 1-gallon plants from http://petalsfromthepast.com/catalog...ants/figs.html and 4" potted plants from http://ediblelandscaping.com/products/shrubs/Figs/
            Last edited by AscPete; 02-23-2015, 11:16 PM.

        • #15
          A gateway fig could almost be any good fig in the that does well in that region. I mean how many times do you hear a new comer say "i tasted my first fresh fig and it was awesome". If you never had a fig than even so-so is pretty darn good. It's sort of like wine. First you think I'll never be one of those wine snobs, then you drink some good wine for a while then you try and go back and the cheap stuff doesn't taste good anymore. The wine didn't change but you did.
          NC Zone 7a-b

          Comment


          • AscPete
            AscPete commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks for commenting.
            Yes, a gateway fig could be a regionally good local cultivar. The list was based on my lack of experience, finding some good advise on the internet and acquiring some easily available cultivars. Although there are many more "tastier" figs, these varieties are easy to acquire and grow almost anywhere. They make for a good intro to the Hobby

        • #16
          Another vote for Hardy Chicago in the Dark, and VdB or Petite Negra(RT) for the Bordeaux category. The other categories I can't give reliable info to recommend anything. I gave my only honey fig the axe because it wasn't working out for me(PH), I gave away my only sugar because it dropped all it's figs(guess who?), I have only had one Battaglia and it was outstanding but I can't make any recommendations off of one adriatic type fig.
          Calvin, Wish list is to finish working on the new house, someday.
          Bored? Grab a rake, paint roller, or a cordless drill and come over!

          Comment


          • #17
            Calvin,
            Thanks for commenting.
            Italian Honey, Lattarula, St Anthony are similar cultivars that are Honey types...
            Green Ischia and Verte are Adriatic types and are just as flavorful, while being easier to find in the commercial trade than Battaglia.
            Last edited by AscPete; 02-24-2015, 10:52 AM.
            Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

            Comment


            • #18
              Don't laugh, but for me the 'Gateway Fig' was a package of dried Pajarera figs bought at a Kroger supermarket. In my wife's family it was a custom to give dried string figs in Christmas stockings, and that was the main exposure to figs that I had for decades - they were hard and chewy. I saw a bulk package of these small dried light brown figs and picked them up to try. I really enjoyed them, and my wife said 'why couldn't you dry your own'? We had just dried a bunch of pears and apples that were outstanding. I did some internet searching and found the F4F forum, found that people were actually growing figs in the north (news to me), and so the hobby started.
              Ed
              SW PA zone 6a

              Comment


              • AscPete
                AscPete commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks for commenting...

            • #19
              Ed,
              Nice anecdote....
              Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

              Comment


              • #20
                Aren't Gateway Figs the ones that are white with black curved spots on them?
                Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

                Comment


                • AscPete
                  AscPete commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I think that's a Fig Gateway...

              • #21
                #13.1

                AscPete commented
                Yesterday, 04:20 PM

                Do you have any particular cultivar that you consider "Gateway" in addition to Mission?
                Mission was the one specific one I could point to. After that, at the very end of the cutting season (so I thought)(and before I learned of people's generosity), I did as much research as I could in a couple days about what did well in SoCal, and quickly ordered about 10 varieties of cuttings from ElEncanto. Shrug.... It was good practice learning how to root things, but for the most part, I've either destroyed or given away almost all of those. They were good to learn what types of figs I really like - for the most part, rich ones with lots of flavor. Not super-sweet. But I'm not sure I"d call those 'gateway' figs but rather 'training' figs.
                SoCal, zone 10.
                www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

                Comment


                • AscPete
                  AscPete commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks for the reply...

              • #22
                I was thinking this morning about this, herman2 listed these 5 as "beginner" figs for colder climate growers (through zone 6). It doesn't cover all the flavor groups, but it is a good list:

                MBvs
                Adriatic JH
                Improved Celeste
                Malta Black
                Tacoma Violet

                https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
                SE PA
                Zone 6

                Comment


              • #23
                I bring up an old thread for following AscPete All I've seen here is brown Turkey and one they called "king's which now makes me think its desert king. Not much digging around my area.
                South Florida - 10b

                Comment


                • #24
                  One single brown turkey was all it took! Now look at me I got several of my friends and family hooked! and I'm "jones-in" for my "good stuff" cuttings to take me away!

                  Comment


                  • #25
                    Originally posted by AscPete View Post
                    There are a few easily available, hardy, productive and tasty cultivars that may be considered "Gateway" figs. My personal gateway figs were also selected by flavor group. These would be my recommendation as introductory cultivars. They also increase the length of harvest with early, mid and late season cultivars.

                    Honey... Italian Honey
                    Sugar... Celeste
                    Adriatic... Conadria
                    Bordeaux... Violette de Bordeaux
                    Dark... Hardy Chicago

                    What cultivars do you consider to be Gateway figs?
                    Good list Pete with one exception. Conadria may be a readily available variety but I'd never have it represent my Adriatic flavor profile if I wanted one of each. It's a waste of a fig tree, IMO. It's a soggy bag of water and it's known for being just that. I had a lot of figs off my second year tree; I'd give it an "A" for growth and production and a big fat "F" for taste and quality. Granted, I'm a relative newbie in the Northeast and we had a wet summer but it was one of the first fig varieties I acquired and I'm pissed to this day that someone sold me this substandard excuse for a fig. I guess you can tell what I think of it........

                    On the other hand, VdB is one of the best tasting and readily available varieties and should be a mainstay in anyone's collection. Good list and good topic.
                    Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania / Zone 6b

                    Comment


                    • AscPete
                      AscPete commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Collecting figs from all the flavor groups is relatively simple. For example, Edible Landscaping, http://ediblelandscaping.com/products/shrubs/Figs/, considered a reputable Nursery, carries small fig trees at reasonable prices and their selection covers all the flavor groups. Their 4" pots are also guaranteed for 1 year and these same plants have provided me with ripe figs in their 1st or 2nd season of cultivation when purchased and up potted before the start of the growing season. The following is a list of the cultivars that they currently stock listed by flavor groups;

                      Honey:
                      Lattarulla
                      White Marseilles
                      Kadota

                      Sugar:
                      Brown Turkey (Southern)
                      Celeste
                      O'Rourke (an Improved Celeste)
                      LSU Purple

                      Adriatic:
                      Conadria
                      Verte
                      Panache

                      Bordeaux:
                      Petite Negri
                      Violette de Bordeaux
                      Black Mission

                      Dark Berry:
                      Hardy Chicago

                    • BlueEagle1967
                      BlueEagle1967 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Efficial Glad I could help!! I'm more mad at myself for not doing my homework but I was a complete novice and I really wanted to buy a rooted tree of a good variety that would fruit the following year. I think the common theme regarding Conadria is that it's no good in the rain and folks have been critical about how much water it retains. And they're right.... eboone made some great suggestions with the SV, GI or AJH. I have all three and even as young trees, GI and SV produced better quality figs, albeit very few but it gives me something to look forward to this year.

                      AscPete I didn't mean any offense to you. I really like your list and absolutely agree with your post. But when I see Conadria I get an insane reaction. I'd bet it's a good fig depending on certain locations that may be dryer in the summer.

                    • AscPete
                      AscPete commented
                      Editing a comment
                      BlueEagle1967 ,
                      None taken, I have had good success with Conadria from Edible Landscaping...

                      Its been my belief that there may be another cultivar currently in circulation as Conadria, there were / are several different UC Riverside Hybrids with the same leaf morphology but slightly different figs
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