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  • Four best tasting early, middle, later, latest figs?

    If you were going to pick four fig trees for an extended fig season on the basis of best taste only, what would they be?

    Rolling River Nursery offers this fig combination:
    Fig Combo Special for Heavy Production and Large Size
    “1 each Atreano, Brown Turkey, Dessert King and Tena. makes for a great selection of large size, heavy producing gourmet figs for an extended long season of fresh eating. Includes Black, purple and green varieties that ripen from early summer till November. These are the varieties that we used to take to the farmers market by the flat. Eat to your hearts content and dry, can or freeze the surplus. Can be grown in containers in areas too cold for overwintering outdoors.”

    Suzi brought up this topic on a different forum, and it seemed like an important one for those of us new to fig growing.
    Mara, Southern California,
    Climate Zone: 1990=9b 2012= 10a 2020=?

  • #2
    Nice topic! For north GA I would go with Peters honey,Black mission , Celeste and Brunswick but these are some of the varieties I've tried and currently growing . There could be a bunch of combos of four to chose from and that's why we all end up with ten different combos😉

    Comment


    • #3
      "4 best tasting" figs? is an impossible question, because taste is so extremely subjective. 4 best tasting of which kind of flavor or flavors? Honey flavored figs? Sugar flavored figs? Berry flavored figs? Molasses flavored figs? Combo flavored figs? ... For someone who has honey, sugar, and berry low on their list of favorite flavors but loves molasses flavor, the 4 "best tasting" figs are going to be totally different than for someone who loves honey flavored figs far and away above all other flavors of figs.

      4 best honey flavored figs, 4 best strawberry flavored figs, 4 best sugar flavored figs, and so on, tentative lists regarding season extension could possibly begin to be compiled within those confines.

      More generally, anyone might tailor their fig variety selections to their own preferences and to their resource constraints based on a lot of factors that are greatly, marginally, or superficially connected to taste and ripening time. (That said, especially in Zone 9b, you could do very well by endless different combinations.) Fig types could be selected based on the flavor range, the skin and pulp color range (which can both affect taste), the fruit size and shape range (which can also affect taste perception), also the leaf shape range, the early and late season ripening range, the productivity range, and so on.

      Thinking along the lines of mainly flavor and color, I've begun to compile tentative lists surely not mistake-free, far from complete, and more than a little arbitrary:
      1. DARK SUGAR GEL (DARK SKIN, LIGHT PULP) --- LSU IMPROVED CELESTE, LSU O'ROURKE, HUNT, CELESTE, LSU TIGER, SWEET GEORGE
      2. GOLD HONEY GEL (GOLD/YELLOW SKIN, LIGHT PULP) --- LSU CHAMPAGNE, JANICE, ALMA, KADOTA, PETER'S HONEY, LSU GOLD, EXCEL, TROJANO, SCOTT'S YELLOW, BRANDY, BARADA, DEANNA, GOLDEN RIVERSIDE (278-128)
      3. INTENSE BERRY JAM: "ADRIATIC" (LIGHT SKIN, DARK PULP) --- BATTAGLIA GREEN, PARADISO GM-9, CALVERTE, VERTE, ISCHIA GREEN, ADRIATIC, PANACHEE, ADRIATIC JH
      4. INTENSE DARK BERRY JAM: "PREMIER" (DARK SKIN / DARK PULP) --- NERO BARNISOTTE, FIGO PRETO / BLACK MADEIRA, NOIRE DE CAROMBE / KATHLEEN'S BLACK, BOURJASOTTE NOIRE, BROGIOTTO NERO, VIOLETTE SOLLIES, COL DE DAME NOIRE
      5. MOUNTAIN BERRY JAM: "MT ETNA" (DARK SKIN, DARK PULP) --- MARSEILLES BLACK, TAKOMA VIOLET, GINO'S BLACK, PAPA JOHN, KEDDIE, GINOSO, NATALINA, SAL'S, HARDY CHICAGO, ZINGARELLA, DARK PORTUGUESE, ROSSI DARK, SPANISH UNKNOWN, SALEM DARK, BLACK BETHLEHEM, MARYLAND BERRY, DANNY'S DELIGHT, BLACK GREEK?, ST RITA, BLACK PORTUGAL
      6. MOLASSES BERRY JAM: "BORDEAUX" (VERY DARK SKIN, DARK PULP) --- VISTA, NERO 600M, PETITE NEGRI, NEGRONNE, VIOLETTE DE BORDEAUX, VALLE CALDA (mislabeled VALLE NEGRA), AUBIQUE PETITE?
      7. DARK BERRY JAM (DARK SKIN, DARK PULP) --- MALTA BLACK, LSU BLACK / SCOTT'S BLACK, MALTA PURPLE RED, RONDE DE BORDEAUX, SICILIAN BLACK, SULTANE, NEGRETTA
      8. LIGHT BERRY GEL (LIGHT SKIN, DARK PULP) --- WHITE TRIANA, LYNDHURST WHITE / LATAROLLA, BINELLO, CONADRIA, TEXAS BA-1 / SMITH / NEW DAN, GOLDEN CELESTE, FIGOIN
      9. OTHER LIGHT (LIGHT SKIN, MISC PULP) --- LEMON (BLANCHE), BANANA, LATTERULA, ATREANO, MARY LANE, LONG YELLOW, LSU HOLLIER, ARMENIAN, JURUPA, CHICO STRAWBERRY (SARATOGA), ST ANTHONY
      10. OTHER DARK (DARK SKIN, MISC PULP) --- PASTILIERE, PARADISO BRONZE, PALERMO RED, PURPLE PASSION, LSU PURPLE, MISSION, BROOKLYN DARK, OSBORNE PROLIFIC, WUHAN, BEALL, BAVARIAN VIOLET, LSU RED, MEGA CELESTE, FLOREA
      11. UNIQUE GRAY (GRAY SKIN / RED PULP) --- GRISE DE ST JEAN, COL DE DAME GRIS, BOURJASOTTE GRIS, BARNISOTTE GRIS, GRISE OLIVETTE
      12. SAN PEDRO --- GRANTHAM'S ROYAL / ROYAL VINEYARD, FILACCIANO, FIORONE DI RUVO, DESERT KING
      13. DIGITATE LEAF (MISCELLANEOUS SKIN & PULP) --- STELLA / DALMATIE, PARADISO GENOVA, MAGNOLIA / BRUNSWICK, EMERALD STRAWBERRY (143-36)
      To cover many or most of the flavor, size, color, shape, and quality factors that might affect taste, along with ripening time and productivity, it might be found worthwhile to acquire a first rate intense strawberry "Adriatic" type fig such as Panachee (which is also striped), a first rate "Bordeaux" molasses type fig such as Vista, a first rate large gold honey fig such as Golden Riverside (278-128), and a first rate relatively large sugar fig such as LSU Tiger, a premier dark fig or two such as Nero Barnisotte and Black Madeira. Maybe another first rate "Adriatic" type fig with the unique finger-like leaf margins of Stella / Dalmatie. A first rate San Pedro fig such as Grantham's Royal. Maybe add a couple top early ripening non-stop producers such as Marseilles Black (a Mt Etna type) and Ronde de Bordeaux. Also a somewhat unique gray skin fig such as Grise de St Jean or Col de Dame Gris.

      Those 11 figs, or groups like them, would provide varieties that include improved-in-California and improved-in-Louisiana figs along with the traditional Mediterranean types, while covering much of the range of the diverse fig factors and features mentioned above. Maybe it would take a dozen such varieties. Or the list could be cut in half and still cover a lot of ground. I think that individual preferences and resources would play a widely divergent role. Of course, figs that are caprified can taste and look much differently than they would otherwise. Only trial and error can show for sure what will work for different people at different places. More or less targeted trials can help speed through any errors.
      Last edited by mountainfigs; 07-04-2015, 08:14 AM. Reason: fixed typo
      Tony WV 6b
      https://mountainfigs.net/

      Comment


      • #4
        Tony-
        So which one would you pick,and can you please add some more descriptions?

        Just kidding. Thanks for the info. For a relative newbie this was a great run down of the various flavor groups and the figs that go along with them.
        Queens, NY. Zone 7B. Restarting my collection.

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        • #5
          Don't tempt me! Hope the overview is useful.

          Simplest questions - Best tasting figs? - can be the toughest questions, and since I had a kind of relevant list that could be cut and paste, I thought why not?

          Categories 9 and 10 are nearly random listings vaguely described, somewhat 8 too, while the other categories have a little more rhyme and reason.
          Tony WV 6b
          https://mountainfigs.net/

          Comment


          • #6
            A+ on that college term paper. Printing this for future reference. That was a very good breakdown. I only have few more to add to the collection to have all of those categories covered. Thanks.
            Randall - Gulf Breeze, FL. zone 8b. Wish list: Anything that "newnandawg" - Mike, ranks as an 8 out 10 or higher.

            Comment


            • #7
              Mara,

              Whenever there's a discussion about "fig taste" I usually refer to the flavor groups that have been discussed for years on the fig forums, http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...-flavor-groups .

              My recommendations for newbies has been 'to acquire the easiest available cultivar from each flavor group that will grow and fruit in their zone'. The criteria includes productivity and taste, since there's lots of anecdotes of forum members acquiring "Excellent Tasting" cultivars like Kathleen Black (Bordeaux Flavor) and not harvesting any figs for several years.

              The choice of 4 for my zone would be Celeste, Hardy Chicago, Violette de Bordeaux and Kadota or Green Ischia. This covers four (4) of the Five (5) Flavor Groups (Sugar, Dark Berry, Bordeaux and Honey or Adriatic Berry) with the ripening times from early to late respectively.

              In your zone the choices are almost unlimited



              Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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              • #8
                Definitely sensible in colder zones to go first for a variety mix that tends toward the early and easy, tasty and prolific, continuously so when possible: the Mt Etnas and the Bordeauxs on the dark side, and Celeste and Malta Black; all LSU cultivars whether dark or light; and on the light side, Lattarula, Latarolla, St Anthony, Adriatic JH. Conadria and Atreano are other popular light recommendations. A little extra effort at acquisition can be worth it, in my experience. Even choosing a small handful of these varieties can cover a prolific, tasty, and wide flavor range. Everyone's preferred list will vary, as it should. These cold zone varieties and strategies, if they can be called that, can probably find some effective use in zone 9b too.
                Tony WV 6b
                https://mountainfigs.net/

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for all that great information Tony...my printer chugging along right now
                  Ross B. Santa Rosa Calif zone 9b, wish list: CdD Blanc, Igo, Palmata, Sucrette, Morroco, Galicia Negra

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Tony, what a thesis! Thank you for posting this. This is exactly what’s needed: information on a variety of the best flavored figs in each category ripening in sequence over a season. Your taste categories are more extensive and detailed than the ones I’ve seen elsewhere. The leaf patterns are of less importance to me, since I don’t eat the leaves, although grasshoppers might find it of interest.

                    Pete S., it’s the “unlimited” choices possible in my zone that are baffling. With eBay now, unlimited easiest to acquire cultivars choices are now possible so we can choose between very good, excellent, and exquisite tasting figs, with the right information. Cultural information about productive disappointments like KB take a little searching around, since these can sometimes vary according to location and cultural practices.

                    Yes, personal taste is very subjective, but it’s still important to talk about it, because fruit that tastes good will be grown and eaten and fruit that is bland and watery won’t. The fig legacy we’re leaving to future generations deserves this consideration. Wonderfully productive fruit trees in the “Heavy Production and Large Size” categories might be labeled as messy nuisances and removed over time. People have posted in fig forums about how small but delicious figs were prized by the people growing up in small villages. They are still grown, eaten and treasured while “Heavy Production and Large Size” are fed to the pigs.

                    I worked in the school system for decades, and saw healthy but tasteless fruits and vegetables from the school lunches fill the trash cans daily because the district bought cheap varieties. The children grew so sick of them over time they would rather go hungry, go play than eat them. A dislike for fruits and vegetables was a learned response taught over the years, unfortunately.

                    But of almost equal importance is the time they ripen. Some early brebas are supposed to be good, like Desert King or Lebanese Red. Would that be early season/late spring? What about mid-season/early summer, late season/late summer, and here is SoCal and green houses/garages everywhere, latest season/fall to winter figs? The “Ripening Order” information posted elsewhere is not always helpful if we don’t know a Celeste SD06 2317 from a Celeste 2BJS 2222, or even if our poor little tree is a Celeste at all, an Improved Celeste, or an O'Rourke.
                    Mara, Southern California,
                    Climate Zone: 1990=9b 2012= 10a 2020=?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This link might be useful, Cultivars that produce continuously to frost:
                      http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...ously-to-frost

                      In my experience and that of others, many of the Mt Etna strains can ripen fruit early and then more-or-less continuously to frost. Ronde de Bordeaux apparently too. LSU Purple too though not quite as early. The Late Bordeaux cultivars can ripen till frost though are not early. On the other hand, the Late Bordeaux varieties often ripen a breba crop first. Alma though not early will ripen till frost.

                      And for more on early ripening varieties, see the link, Early ripening fig varieties:
                      http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...-fig-varieties
                      and Kelby's detailed spreadsheet:
                      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...gid=1415597439

                      Last edited by mountainfigs; 07-04-2015, 05:26 PM.
                      Tony WV 6b
                      https://mountainfigs.net/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Mara, Tony,

                        What would you recommend as your four (4) cultivars for newbies?
                        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Pete, that's sort of an impossible question, but the selections that you note are quite good, in my opinion: http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...-fig-cultivars

                          The Mt Etna cultivar or type appears to be, by far, the most widely named and renamed cultivar going. There's probably a reason for that. It's probably a really, really good fig for a home orchard, and for many a new fig grower to begin with, whether beginning with one cultivar or a small handful of cultivars or many cultivars. In somewhat different fashions toward the same end, Ronde de Bordeaux (in France) and Celeste (in the South) (and by extension Improved Celeste) are very highly regarded as fundamental, high quality "dooryard" figs, home fruit varieties. Ronde de Bordeaux, Improved Celeste, and Mt Etna can be seen as central varieties for dooryard fig trees, whether in-ground or potted, and can be the core of a young or old home orchard.

                          Personally, I would really try very hard to get those three cultivars first, Improved Celeste, a good Mt Etna, and Ronde de Bordeaux because they are all tasty, early, and prolific. A fourth fig I would see as less critical; any of many different varieties would be great, but I might be tempted to get a good second Mt Etna variety as a fourth fig for the reliability and productivity, also taste.

                          A larger answer depends on whether or not new growers want to begin growing with trees or with cuttings, and then on what is available to purchase at what price at any given time, and also what people are curious about and interested in trying, what their goals might be.

                          Would be strange though if everyone picked those three or four for their first figs, even if significant quantity of good quality fruit were the primary goal. Surely better for people to go with a much wider variety, given what may be available, since good success early can be had, and has been had, with a lot of different figs. And people differ. People are interested in trying a lot of different things, whether likely to be successful right away or not. Plus a lot of people are not going to limit themselves to a few figs, whether in the short or long haul. Therefore wide experimentation is wise, especially since it takes plenty of cultivars more years than others to really get up and get going. Useful to start as early as possible with those.

                          New growers differ. They get going on figs because they remember a Brown Turkey from long ago, or an unknown green fig, or something else. They might want to pursue those, or they might want to go out and straightaway try to bring to fruition any of the most highly admired figs. Depends so much on how and why they come to figs and what their goals and interests are. That's going to vary widely.

                          But all that said, if the desire is for relatively easy to grow, early ripening, prolific, and flavorful figs - all other things equal - I would suggest the three I mentioned, especially for growers in cold zones. Others have made extremely reasonable suggestions that differ of course. Drivewayfarmer has suggested Ronde de Bordeaux and Florea. Can't argue with Florea, no matter that it can be sometimes difficult to come by. It can be a great first fig, as can be many different varieties.

                          Tony WV 6b
                          https://mountainfigs.net/

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

                          • mountainfigs
                            mountainfigs commented
                            Editing a comment
                            As for top few fig cultivars for new growers ... in zone 6 or warmer, also zone 5 ... updating this after seeing results of this year's growing season in which over 60 named figs ripened here in zone 6b, I would suggest: 1) Mt Etna type (Hardy Chicago, Marseilles Black, etc), 2) Brooklyn White, 3) Ronde de Bordeaux, 4) LSU Improved Celeste, 5) Late Bordeaux type (Violette de Bordeaux, etc).

                            All are great tasting. Mt Etna type is the most productive and most resilient after any winter die-back. Brooklyn White is the largest fig of the five and makes a beautiful light contrast (yellow/gold) to the others which are all dark. Ronde de Bordeaux is very early, beautiful, flavorful. Improved Celeste may be the earliest of these, and may be the sweetest. Late Bordeaux are the most premier fig here in appearance and flavor, also productive, and with at least a small breba crop, like Brooklyn White.

                        • #14
                          Originally posted by AscPete View Post
                          Mara, Tony,

                          What would you recommend as your four (4) cultivars for newbies?
                          I am a newbie. That's why I posted this question. People were very generous with their recommendations and I'm grateful, but only time and experience will be able to narrow it down to only four, if that is even possible.

                          Trees that were recommended to me by other people in my area since we have the wasp were Violette de Bordeaux, Peter’s Honey, Strawberry Verte, the Col de Dames, Ronde de Bordeaux, Desert King, Unknown Pastiliere, Panache, LSU Purple and Gold, Marseilles Black VS, California Brown Turkey, Hollier, Celeste, Hative de Argentueil, Bourjassotte Grise, El Molino and Zidi.

                          I’ve heard/read good things about Adriatic JH, Battaglia, Black Madeira (grafted), Barada, Bronze Paradiso, Celeste Improved, Dark Portuguese, Figo Preto, Italian 258, Jurupa, Maltese Falcon, Niagara Black, Pane e Vino Dark, Qalaat Al Maadiq, St. Rita, Smith, Sucrette, and Vasilika Sika.

                          I would like to be able to simplify these lists to a few of the best and this discussion has been helpful. I'm blessed to have space and resources right now, but perhaps won't in the future. Many people just want to grow a few fig trees and might find picking fig trees by what they would guess would be their favorite flavors (hopefully productive as well) would be more helpful. Life is too short and calories too restricted for boring fruit.
                          Last edited by Altadena Mara; 07-05-2015, 12:41 PM.
                          Mara, Southern California,
                          Climate Zone: 1990=9b 2012= 10a 2020=?

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

                        • #15
                          Mara,
                          My approach to fig cultivation has been somewhat clinical partly due to the fact that figs are not part of my cultural heritage. My motivation for growing ficus carica (and other fruits) is similar to your's, to have a bountiful harvest of tasty figs (fruit) but also with the least amount of effort/care.

                          I'm a newbie to figs, but have been able to taste 11 cultivars from the first group and 5 cultivars from the second group of your lists in post #14... Utilizing the Flavor group approach has also allowed me to already eliminate several cultivars from my "Wish List", due to taste or inadequate growth habits for my zone, and to redirect my efforts to other cultivars.

                          The "Gateway Cultivars" and "Flavor Groups" are simple tools that can be used for the quick selection of cultivars when limited resources are a factor.
                          Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

                          Comment


                          • #16
                            I think you're missing out without a green fig/red pulp and at least 1 of the high end figs like St Rita.
                            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


                            • #17
                              Definitely missing out, but I don't have a green/red producer that has proven itself to be as prolific as the small dark figs yet, so I would simply go with the high productivity at first, as personal preference.

                              Might you suggest a few green/red varieties that can really produce when not too old, and are preferably early ripeners? Adriatic JH, St Anthony, etc? I'm hoping that these will turn out to be prolific and at least relatively early.

                              Does St Rita seem to you to be a Mt Etna type?
                              Tony WV 6b
                              https://mountainfigs.net/

                              Comment


                              • #18
                                Tony,

                                I have not tasted my St Rita yet but the leaves looks like my Mt Etna type figs MBVS and Takoma Violet, I suspect it is a Mt Etna type too.

                                My best green/red varieties are Conadria and Strawberry Verte and I would highly recommend them for anybody with a hot climate (somebody from a moderate zone could add a note here).
                                USDA z 10a, SoCal. WL: De la Roca, Raspberry Tart, Boysenberry Blush

                                Comment


                                • #19
                                  I have a great Hardy Chicago that gives me lots of good tasting figs as long as daytime highs are in the 60s. I haven't had TV or MBVS or even RdB so I can't comment on them. My St Rita is much more sensitive to cold than my HC and its figs are a major step up in flavor from my HC. I'm not the international body of fig nomenclature so I can't tell you if its a Mt Etna or not. My opinion would be no, just for its cold sensitive nature - meaning that if June nights get into the mid thirties it may take a month or 2 off from growth and not produce figs for a year. A HC would never do that.
                                  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


                                  • #20
                                    As far as a great green/red Panache (right flavor wrong colors ;- ), Battaglia Green, JH Adriatic, Col de Dame Blanc or Strawberry Verte would work. A Panache should be very easy to come by commercially and BG and JH A have been passed around the forum a lot so should be easy to buy here.
                                    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

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