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  • OT Queen of Spain

    I just thought I'd share this tidbit as I think it's pretty cool.

    I sell all my ripe figs to a very high end restaurant here in the Virginia, Maryland, D.C. area. It is unquestionably the best restaurant on this area of the east coast and on Monday they served my figs to the Queen of Spain. She was impressed that they had such a variety of high end figs.

    I have sent them just over a hundred varieties to sample and they rate them so I can more easily decide which varieties to increase and which ones to decrease in my orchard. I hope to have a working grove in a few years that produces a respectable harvest and having an elite corp of distinguished chefs rate my varieties is very helpful. The difference between what they value and what I thought they'd value has been interesting.

    I can't wait to send them Battaglia Green and Col de Dame Blanc along with the other dozen or so green/deep red, berry flavored figs. Their order included JH Adriatic this AM. I have a lot of varieties yet to supply them and I'm sure Preto, Black Madeira, etc. will impress. I have way too many varieties to give each one a fair shake this year. There are so many that are just incredible it's a very hard job to pin point which ones I should concentrate on.

    Anyway. The friggin Queen of Spain! I hope she liked the Col de Dame Noirs.

  • #2
    That's so awesome! How much land do you have dedicated to your fig grove? I'm interested in doing the same thing.
    Oaken Rose, Hillsborough, NC Zone 8a

    Comment


    • #3
      Pretty cool. You didn't happen to send De La Reina did you? It would be fun to serve De La Reina a la Reina.
      Johnny
      Stuff I grow: Google Doc

      Comment


      • #4
        That's great !
        I'd be very interested to know more about which varieties they prefer for their situation.
        I'm sure you'll have, or may already have ,a waiting list of chefs wanting in on your fig production.
        I'd be interested if they go big or have favorites in each size range.
        Can you share what chefs are willing to pay for high quality figs ?
        Last year I took a good sample size of perfectly ripened Ronde de Bordeaux figs to a local chef to try while we ate lunch there.
        He said he'd buy any amount at any price I named. I find pricing the hardest thing to figure out.

        Kerry - NH zone 5

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        • #5
          nice work...right on track...
          Ross B. Santa Rosa Calif zone 9b, wish list: CdD Blanc, Igo, Palmata, Sucrette, Morroco, Galicia Negra

          Comment


          • #6
            OR,
            I have very little land set aside. If I have time I'll take a picture. I have about 225 potted figs (not including 1 gallon). They go from 3 to 15 gallons. I bring them inside my 3 car garage where they take up a bay and a half or so in the winter. I do not produce that many figs but I do produce a lot of varieties. I think maybe 105 to 115 so far this year. I will once again post a ripening list like 2013 and 2014.

            It only takes 2 or 3 country folk a half a day to take clippings and move everything up a steep hill and into the garage. Last year I had well over 400 trees. This year I got rid of over 3 dozen unknowns and sold a lot of duplicates especially of varieties I do not "need". I have certain varieties I keep even though they are not typical of what I'm shooting for - which is -- let's say Ronde de Bordeaux is close to the perfect fig. An example of one I keep for "other" reasons would be Lemon which is crazy productive but not what I would call a desert fig. It can be used for lots of things. I mix them with other "white" figs and freeze them. I then sell my frozen figs for anywhere between $7 and $10 per pound frozen in a zip lock bag. The price is determined by how obnoxious the buyer is.

            Kerry -- I could easily charge more, btw.

            I sell fresh ripe figs in egg cartons for - well as example I charge my big customer $9 per pound but they pick them up and if I don't want to I don't even have to wake up. They come right in and are very quiet. Part of our deal is an agreement that they rate the figs for me and explain how they come to their conclusions as they see certain things differently then just a desert fig consumer.

            So, I give them a very good deal at 9 bucks. I have been offered more ($15 a pound) but I do not deliver and I can always get more by just putting an ad on Craig's List as folks are always looking for fresh figs. I also make a jam sort of concoction I use on pork loins (I also add mustard) that I could easily sell for $5 for a little mason jar's worth. Eventually I will have enough products to make it worth having a presence at a farmer's market.

            I also sell baby trees (500+ in the last 4 years) locally on Craig's List so I get a fair amount of visitors and they always want to try fresh figs. I can charge them just about anything if I start them with a ripe Battaglia Green or JH Adriatic, Kathleen's Black, St Rita or RdB. I rarely charge them but I do convince them more often then not to buy an older tree as they'll get more fruit sooner, etc. They also tend to buy more trees.

            Johnny,
            I'm currently waiting on my DlReina. She did get some nice ones including some big and properly ripened CdD Noirs.
            Kerry,
            I hope I covered pricing. If not just let me know.
            Ross,
            thx

            I think I should add this; due to illness and a car accident my figs were not cared for as well as they should have been. Last year I ripened just over a 100 varieties and expected to double that number this year. My production poundage was about 50% of what I had originally planned for and I produced much less then half the trees I did the year before. I am hoping to figure out how to grow figs so I can actually make it worth the time I currently spend - which it is not not even close to being as things are at this time. Because growing and properly ripening figs is not as easy as it could be in a warmer growing zone there is a huge demand for fresh figs. Huge. If a practical way can be found to produce high quality figs there is a market for them that I' sure is worth consideration.

            Comment


            • #7
              OR,
              I have very little land set aside. If I have time I'll take a picture. I have about 225 potted figs (not including 1 gallon). They go from 3 to 15 gallons. I bring them inside my 3 car garage where they take up a bay and a half or so in the winter. I do not produce that many figs but I do produce a lot of varieties. I think maybe 105 to 115 so far this year. I will once again post a ripening list like 2013 and 2014.

              It only takes 2 or 3 country folk a half a day to take clippings and move everything up a steep hill and into the garage. Last year I had well over 400 trees. This year I got rid of over 3 dozen unknowns and sold a lot of duplicates especially of varieties I do not "need". I have certain varieties I keep even though they are not typical of what I'm shooting for - which is -- let's say Ronde de Bordeaux is close to the perfect fig. An example of one I keep for "other" reasons would be Lemon which is crazy productive but not what I would call a desert fig. It can be used for lots of things. I mix them with other "white" figs and freeze them. I then sell my frozen figs for anywhere between $7 and $10 per pound frozen in a zip lock bag. The price is determined by how obnoxious the buyer is.

              Kerry -- I could easily charge more, btw.

              I sell fresh ripe figs in egg cartons for - well as example I charge my big customer $9 per pound but they pick them up and if I don't want to I don't even have to wake up. They come right in and are very quiet. Part of our deal is an agreement that they rate the figs for me and explain how they come to their conclusions as they see certain things differently then just a desert fig consumer.

              So, I give them a very good deal at 9 bucks. I have been offered more ($15 a pound) but I do not deliver and I can always get more by just putting an ad on Craig's List as folks are always looking for fresh figs. I also make a jam sort of concoction I use on pork loins (I also add mustard) that I could easily sell for $5 for a little mason jar's worth. Eventually I will have enough products to make it worth having a presence at a farmer's market.

              I also sell baby trees (500+ in the last 4 years) locally on Craig's List so I get a fair amount of visitors and they always want to try fresh figs. I can charge them just about anything if I start them with a ripe Battaglia Green or JH Adriatic, Kathleen's Black, St Rita or RdB. I rarely charge them but I do convince them more often then not to buy an older tree as they'll get more fruit sooner, etc. They also tend to buy more trees.

              Johnny,
              I'm currently waiting on my DlReina. She did get some nice ones including some big and properly ripened CdD Noirs.
              Kerry,
              I hope I covered pricing. If not just let me know.
              Ross,
              thx

              I think I should add this; due to illness and a car accident my figs were not cared for as well as they should have been. Last year I ripened just over a 100 varieties and expected to double that number this year. My production poundage was about 50% of what I had originally planned for and I produced much less then half the trees I did the year before. I am hoping to figure out how to grow figs so I can actually make it worth the time I currently spend - which it is not not even close to being as things are at this time. Because growing and properly ripening figs is not as easy as it could be in a warmer growing zone there is a huge demand for fresh figs. Huge. If a practical way can be found to produce high quality figs there is a market for them that I' sure is worth consideration.

              Comment


              • #8
                I would love to see a picture of how you get that many trees in a bay and half! I have about a quarter of that and it was hard. This year I have a smaller garage and I'm sure I'll need to get creative.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Stack 'em high, 71. The biggest issue for me is leaving room to check the moisture in the pots and add water once or twice as necessary during winter. Stacking works okay, but if you have too many figs and not enough space, you run into "can I reach that without falling into my trees and crushing stuff" issues. I'm going to prune my trees, almost all of them, as I settle them in for winter, so that should make stacking and storage a little easier.

                  Michael, great story! The only queen I feed figs to is The Wife, and boy is she finicky. If I had lots more productive Col de Dames of any variety and many fewer blah figs (see my Wills' rash thread) my Queen would be much happier with me. There's always next year.
                  Neil
                  Reno, 6b

                  Comment


                  • Harborseal
                    Harborseal commented
                    Editing a comment
                    The figs improve or it's off with his head!

                  • rusty hooks
                    rusty hooks commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I wish you could hear the laughter

                • #10
                  Neil, I hear you on that I stack them as well, but you guys must be Tetris masters.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    That is awesome Michael!
                    Ryan- CenLa, zone 8a/b

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      thx guys.
                      Oh and what Neil said about stacking. I usually take a lot of cuttings and that makes stacking much much easier.
                      I also prune so no fig is taller then the ceiling.
                      Neil the wife must be kept in fine figs. It's a rule.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I'm working the fine fig angle, Michael. I've got scads of reputedly fine figs now. I just need them to produce in quantities that will make her swoon and earn some admiration for my efforts rather than scorn for the massive collection and relatively paultry production. It helped taking her to Gary's fig gathering last weekend. She discovered that I am far from the most rabid collector, though she still questions my technical abilities. She still loves me though, Bob, and while she may take my head off figuratively every now and then, she will leave my corporal version intact. At least for now.
                        Neil
                        Reno, 6b

                        Comment


                      • #14
                        Great story, Michael. Congrats.
                        Frank Tallahasee 8B
                        North Florida Figs

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                        • #15
                          Michael....you are a farmer at heart....through and through....with a large garage...a large winter storage that is....great story!!
                          Ross B. Santa Rosa Calif zone 9b, wish list: CdD Blanc, Igo, Palmata, Sucrette, Morroco, Galicia Negra

                          Comment


                          • #16
                            For those interested - the 3 most favored figs were Ronde de Bordeaux, Saint Rita and Alma in that order. As the season went on the chefs did less reporting so there may have been later figs they liked and did to report in as positive a manner. Everyone gets so excited about first tasty figs. Marseilles Black VS for example (or K Black or Negronne - as these were excellent this year).
                            Just FYI - there were 2 times the INN could not pick up their shipment so I made 2 phone calls and the figs were sold immediately for $10 a pound. I could easily sell far more figs then I could grow by myself.

                            Comment


                            • #17
                              I was going to write you soon to see what the results were. Thanks for following up on this.
                              It surprises me a little that JH Adriatic wasn't up at the top of their list as well.
                              Kerry - NH zone 5

                              Comment


                              • #18
                                Just seeing this, but that is so neat, Michael! What an honor.
                                Frank ~ zone 7a VA

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