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  • Unk. Teramo

    I go "fig hunting" a lot each summer and even impersonate the late, great Steve Irwin as I stumble upon a fig tree complete with my best (still terrible) Australian accent. My wife hates it, by the way, both the accent and my incessant searching for these fine specimens...particularly when we are vacation. Two years ago I did some research about fig trees in the St.Michaels area whilst on vacation.

    I found an article about a B&B in Easton, Md that was run by an Italian lady originally from the Abruzzo region of Italy (same as my wife's family, so I got a pass on this one). Specifically, she was from Teramo and wanted to start this hospitality venture in the U.S. by sharing a part of Italy with her. She brought some fig cuttings of what she thought was the best tasting fig tree growing in Teramo. She brought them along with some oregano seeds and other reminders of her homeland to share with her future guests.

    However, the B&B must have closed down a few years before we got there as the only response we got when we knocked on the door was some bewildered looks from the assumed tenants in the current apartment building. However on the side of the building ( the wrong side- not getting full sun) was a twenty foot behemoth of a fig tree, obviously neglected, but impressive. It had interesting leaves, see the pics, and was loaded with figs. This was in 2014, after a brutal winter. It was mid-June at the time, which meant the tree mustn't have suffered much dieback-I saw very little evidence. The trunk wasn't that large, so the tree wasn't very old. I fig-ured ( sorry, force of habit) that it was just lucky being protected ( even if on the wrong side) of the house. Many people in the surrounding area, St. Michaels, Oxford, and Easton own fig trees. After seeing many of their trees dead to the ground as many of mine were made me think it wasn't simply luck. As I interviewed other people with trees in the nearby areas, it seemed the consensus was that all fig trees suffered several whether against the house or not, except this one. I of course only took a few ( okay, a lot) cuttings for scientific research.

    A few rooted, but I was determined to go back later that summer and check for the actual fruit...for science. Wow, were they good! Syrupy and rich. They were brown and round with no void. They were ripened by mid July. I felt I should root some more and just see if this was a coincidence of hardiness. After all, I go fig hunting a lot and most times, it turns out to be just a Brunswick ( right, Von?) or a Celeste. I looked at this tree as very interesting and uniquely hardy, however, I didn't want too jump the gun and tell everyone how awesome and hardy it was only to find out it was just a one time deal. I had to wait until I was sure that this tree was worthy of being written about.


    Another brutal winter passes, Early this past summer, I felt it was my duty to suggest we go to Easton, Md for vacation, you know, because of the good crabbing, restaurants, tranquility etc. Day one I found the tree, expecting it to finally succumb to the second consecutive frigid winter. No, it surged back to 16-20 ft in mid June. It looked the same as last year. I had to test the fruit in late July one more time before singing its praises. It was every bit as good as I remembered.

    The Italian woman accomplished at least one goal. She set out to bring a little piece of Teramo with her and share it with her new community with a lot of pride. I have over a hundred and forty varieties and have tasted over eighty this year. I don't know if it is the best tasting fig I've had this year, but it's pretty special to me. It is amazingly hardy and accordingly, it produces very early. it meets my criteria- hardy, early, tasty.

    Note: I posted this information regarding this particular variety because I think it is unique with respect to hardiness. I go fig hunting and probably root 30-40 varieties from what I collect every summer. None of those has had any feature worth posting about. The house wasn't nearly as close to the water ( probably 3-4 miles from any tributary) as many of the surrounding trees that I found. It also had no additional protection,besides close to the brick building, that could have been to its advantage. All of the other nearby fig trees ( even the older, larger trees-or stumps at this point were sprouting from the ground and most of those were cared for and up against houses or fences or walls, too. The minimum temperature for February was 3 degrees and they had a week in February of 6 days in a row with lows in the single digits. Not as cold as many of us, but still unusually cold. I am still experimenting with it so I don't want to go overboard with its praises, but it is definitely an exciting variety.
    You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 4 photos.

  • #2
    Looks tasty, if nothing else!
    https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
    SE PA
    Zone 6

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    • #3
      That is very exciting! Sounds like a great find. Good hunting, Mr. Irwin!

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      • #4
        Awesome work BigBill, thanks for sharing. Very unique leaves and the fig looks delish!!!

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        • #5
          Thanks for preserving this variety.

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          • #6
            Sounds intriguing. Does it taste similar to any of your other varieties?
            Don - OH Zone 6a Wish list: Zaffiro, Moro de Caneva, Nerucciolo d'Elba, Bordissot Blanca Negra

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            • #7
              Hey Don. That's a tough one. It has been little while since I had one because they were so early, but I have in my notes that it was kind of like LaRadek's EBT. I also thought it was like a smaller, milder Sodus Sicilian, yet not as syrupy and heavy, if that makes sense. Sodus Sicilian makes you reach for a glass of water. Unknown Teramo is definitely more refreshing.

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              • #8
                Just found your post here very excited!!!

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                • #9
                  Looking forward to this one and hope to compare it's ripening time and flavor to other varieties in my collection this season. It was one of my most vigorous starts last year.
                  Thanks again Bill!
                  Last edited by zone5figger; 01-30-2017, 04:02 PM.
                  Jesse in western Maine, zone 4/5
                  Wishlist- earliest maincrop varieties

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                  • #10
                    What a wonderful find! Thank you for sharing the story and good luck with all your cuttings.
                    7B Southern NJ

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                    • #11
                      I love fig hunting! I am really impressed with the early ripening date and cold hardiness Wow! Good find Crocodile Dundee!

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                      • #12
                        I obtained cuttings last year(thanks Bill!). It fruited, the fruit was small, were Amber in color inside, then I left some on a long time, and interior was a deep red. Figs hang well. An excellent grower appears resistant to fig rust too. It's hard for me to describe taste as I have so few others to compare. It has a fig Newton type taste which I thought was excellent. No berry taste or very little. It's a keeper for me.

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                        • #13
                          Bill, by chance have you shared this with Mario di Natale? He is from a town very close to Teramo...
                          Rafael
                          Zone 10b, Miami, FL

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                          • #14
                            If he is Mario1 on f4fun, then yes. He is an awesome guy. Or are you just trying to see me emasculated with a pink pony avatar? Ha, Ha.

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                            • Fygmalion
                              Fygmalion commented
                              Editing a comment
                              I never met Mario in person but have had a few conversations with him on the F4F forum and he seems to be a very friendly gentleman indeed...

                            • Bigbill
                              Bigbill commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Tony, he is a great guy. Very generous, and is a friend to all! It may be tough to take me seriously, with this damn pink pony, but I am very serious. Thanks, Fabio. Great idea.
                              Last edited by Bigbill; 01-30-2017, 11:04 PM.

                            • Rafaelissimmo
                              Rafaelissimmo commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Yes I meant Mario1. He is certainly a gentleman, the tops
                              Last edited by Rafaelissimmo; 02-01-2017, 10:05 AM.

                          • #15
                            Well, it has been a year plus since BigBill distributed this variety and I would appreciate hearing folks' experiences with it as far as ripening time, rating the fruit, and general observations. Makes sense to me to do so on this thread so info is consolidated.
                            I have a couple Teramo unk plants, one went inground this spring and has both maincrop and breba on it. Likely to be the second variety of breba to ripen for me (first was Genovese Nero that got a early headstart, so not really a fair comparison), they have swelled and are starting to soften. My other plant is in a pot and has a low fruit set, but I did hack it up a bit for ALs and cuttings. We shall see how it handles a Maine winter in comparison to my other ones...
                            Can't wait to taste it, and look forward to hearing others takes on this variety-thanks!
                            Jesse in western Maine, zone 4/5
                            Wishlist- earliest maincrop varieties

                            Comment


                            • ross
                              ross commented
                              Editing a comment
                              I may have a wait another year for mine.

                          • #16
                            Mine fruited the first year pretty good, it grew to five feet. It has a large trunk not that many figs the second year. I pinched to to make scaffolds as I prefer a single trunk with scaffolds. Although bush form is fine too. It produced a lot of small figs last year. Almost perfectly round. Interior was amber and they have a figgy taste, not berry. As the season went on the interior became red, maybe I was picking them early? It had a couple breba's and they were big, and very good. I like this fig a lot one of my favorites. Figs seem to be growing right there with the early types. So an early producer. One needs to grow a few years. to get an idea. So early observations. it produced like crazy last year, seems slower this year. It was hit by a frost, maybe that slowed it? Others were not slowed down much. Last year it seemed to just keep producing, now that I think about it. Not a large number at any one time, but they kept coming. A for sure keeper for me! Thanks once again Bill! What else ya got?!! Anything like this one, let me know!

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                            • zone5figger
                              zone5figger commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Thanks, Drew. Any pics?

                            • SalNick
                              SalNick commented
                              Editing a comment
                              I have one with 1 breba. Also big. Still yellow now but getting soft

                          • #17
                            Brebas (2) ripening on inground tree in Maine, plenty of maincrop at stagnant stage..
                            You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
                            Jesse in western Maine, zone 4/5
                            Wishlist- earliest maincrop varieties

                            Comment


                            • #18
                              Jesse, that phrase "inground tree in Maine" caught my attention! Did you plant it this year i.e. has it been through a winter yet? If it is able to produce fruit in the relatively short summers that Maine has then it would do well in-ground in a lot of places.
                              Steve
                              D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
                              WL: Nantes Maroc

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                              • zone5figger
                                zone5figger commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Planted out this spring, so now is not a true representation of zone sdaptation, that we will see next year.

                            • #19
                              I'm out of town for a week I'll post photos when I get back.

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                              • #20
                                First breba from my Teramo unk picked this morning.
                                Closed eye, refreshing mildly sweet and creamy, some seed crunch, wife thought she tasted some bubblegum flavor.
                                I was happy to beat our free ranging poultry to this one. Next one I will let hang longer, shriveled or bust!
                                You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 3 photos.
                                Jesse in western Maine, zone 4/5
                                Wishlist- earliest maincrop varieties

                                Comment


                                • zone5figger
                                  zone5figger commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  Ate the second breba today, I let that one get more ripe and it had started to shrivel. Flavor was about the same however-fairly mild, tasty. Now looking forward to the maincrop figs....will post when they ripen.

                              • #21
                                I noticed with the Valle Negra Breba, waiting one day longer really made a difference in taste. So yeah the longer it hangs the better.

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                                • #22
                                  I’d be interested in hearing some more about those who had Teramo in ground this past winter. I’ve got a potted one in its second year with about 60 figlets on it, and I’d love to try it out in ground, perhaps next year.

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                                  • #23
                                    Josh, I have 3 Teramo in the ground now in PA ( zone 6b). They were unprotected, and our winter was brutal ( especially the surprise cold weather in early November). It decimated my trees. Most newly planted trees will take major damage the first winter no matter how “hardy” the trees are anyway. However, not only did Teramo show resilience, but all three will produce some figs later this season. It is one of the leaders among the 94 trees I planted last spring. I am planning on growing a few more in ground next spring.

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                                    • #24
                                      Bill, I may have asked this before, but when does Teramo start ripening in comparison to the usual first ripeners (Florea, RdB, Improved Celeste)?

                                      Ed
                                      SW PA zone 6a

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                                      • #25
                                        Ed, it’s weird for me. Some years ( in a pot) it’d be my first ripening fig, around late July, early August ( main crop). Then, other years it’d be mid to late August. It’s usually earlier than any mt. Etnas. The other thing I notice is that when we get an extended mild fall, it ripens a second, smaller crop around mid to late October ( which is why I don’t remove the secondary figlets that form in early August from this one).

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