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  • Top 5 varieties you have?

    If you could keep any 5 fig trees in your collection, based strictly on taste, which 5 would you keep?

    I would give you my choices but honestly, I have never tasted 5 different types of figs! Haha... This is kinda a shopping list thread for me, but I think it'll be fun to hear everyone's opinion.

  • #2
    I don't think that I have tried five varieties of figs yet, but I like Petite Negri, and Black Mission the best.


    • #3
      Uh....I have yet to get the first fig from my collection. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else says.
      Bryant...Franklin County, VA...Zone 7a. Wish List: a 32 hour day....more sleep


      • #4
        Im with DBJohnson, havent tried 5 different types of figs yet.


        • #5
          For me i would go with Latarulla, Paradiso, Danny's Delight, Colasanti's Dark and jaune de gascogne. The first four have had them for 3 years now good producer for me and the jaune got it last year and it produced and was great.
          Vincent Canada Québec zone5


          • #6
            Last year 2015, Preto (10), Col de Dame (9.5), Vista (9), Smith (9), Bourjasotte Noire (8.5 ripened during late October flood) were the top 5.

            Many others were close but most were younger VdB (8 ripened late), St.Rita (8), MLK (8.5 late), JHA (8.5 late), Sultane (8 late), HC (8), Calderwood (8)....

            Fortunately, I only had a few watery, or bland figs, and most of these were after November. Those that ripen during our hotter months, before November were all tasty.


            • #7
              Dang...I've got a bunch of the popular figs (RdB, smith, Adriatic JH, etc), but not the fruit. Hopefully this year I will get fruit off of my 2nd year plants. What I can say so far: LSU purple is disappointing, but is supposed to get better with age. Hardy Chicago was also disappointing, but figs ripened on a young plant when the weather had cooled off, so not a great comparison. Not much of a top 5 .

              Brett in Athens, GA zone 7b/8a


              • #8
                5 from my own trees so far would be,
                Col de Dame Blanc
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                Ischia Black
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                Genovese Nero
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                Gary USDA 9A
                Sebastopol, CA


                • figgary
                  figgary commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Mine came from Raintree Nursery, Levar.

                • Brian M
                  Brian M commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Is that Lampiera Blanco?

                • figgary
                  figgary commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Brian, it is the one just labeled as Lampeira, from the CRFG scion exchange. The mother tree is in Prusch Park. Francisco does not recognize it as Lampeira Branco from Portugal.

              • #9
                I don't known yet beside Bi39 and Chi-Talia Blanco (in Italia only)

                I do hope they stay in my top 5 once my new trees fruit tis year.
                Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                2) This weeks ebay auctions.


                • #10
                  For 2015 only ...... does change with season.

                  Granthams Royal


                  • #11
                    Most of my trees are still pretty young, the average age ranging between about 2 - 3 years. From 2015, it'd have to be:

                    Smith - Most impressive considering it was only a year old. The figs were, in quality, a notch or two below some great Black Missions from the grocery store. They didn't taste like anything Black Missions but the quality was there.

                    JH Adriatic - For its promising quality but already excellent flavor profiles. Flavors reminded me of strawberry milkshakes and caramel in a few - tropical fruits in some others. The top halves of all the fruit were pretty bland but the tree was only 1.5 years at the time.

                    Emerald Strawberry because of its exceptional rain tolerance, split resistance, and thick skin (resistance to bug damage). Not to mention, for a fig with almost zero hype, it's pretty good. Reminded me of sweet black plums.

                    RdB - For its flavor and growth habit. Reminded me of raspberry flavored Black Missions with a hint of coconut.

                    Anddddd hard to say what comes next.
                    I had a single Col de Dame off one of my 11 month old trees and it smelled just like some really ripe caprified figs I've had in Italy. I've never had a mature col de dame but I really can't wait for this. Click image for larger version

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                    Also, brettjm, I had some first year LSU Purples and they were surprisingly good - about as good or slightly better than perfectly ripe grocery store Brown Turkeys. Mine started ripening in October or November when temps were from ~75 - 90 here with long hours of daylight and 100% exposure to sun. Something to think about.

                    For 2016, I've added I258, Galicia Negra, Vasilika Sika, Black Madeira, Grise de St. Jean and more to my collection so here's hoping for a top 10.
                    Attached Files
                    You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 4 photos.
                    Last edited by Levar; 02-27-2016, 11:43 AM.


                    • #12
                      RdB, St Rita, Strawberry Verte, Paradiso in no particular order.
                      Alpine, Texas 4500ft elevation Zone 7


                      • #13
                        So far up here in NH :
                        Ronde de Bordeaux
                        Danny's Delight -( dark version)
                        Malta Black
                        with many more right up there like : JH Adriatic , LSU Scott's Black , Vista , Conadria , Takoma Violet ,Moscatel Preto....
                        and many more to try in 2016 I hope.
                        Kerry - NH zone 5


                        • #14
                          Wow great feedback, RdB was never really on my radar (for some reason) but now it seems it's in a lot of people's top 5!


                          • mgginva
                            mgginva commented
                            Editing a comment
                            RdB is an absolute must have fig. It is cold hardy, early, ripens over several months and produces a lot of great tasting figs. I think it is #1 all round.

                        • #15
                          I got to taste well over 100 of my own figs last year. I also sold my ripe figs to the best restaurant within hundreds of miles (Inn at Little Washington). Part of my deal with them was I'd label all my figs and charge $9 instead of $10 a pound and they'd have fig tastings and rate the figs I sold them. Because some of my orchard is 10 years old and some of it is very young obviously these ratings do not cover as many varieties as I'd like, and the younger figs are at a disadvantage. But I will certainly start adding more of the trees the chefs liked and start looking at the ones they weren't fond of for removal.
                          The top figs according to some very celebrated chefs;

                          Ronde de Bordeaux
                          Blanch de Deux Saissons
                          Battaglia Green
                          Col de Dam Blanc
                          Alma -- this tree may not be a true Alma as Dennis (snaglpus on f4f) pointed out a few years ago. I hope to ID it better this year.

                          Others that deserve to be listed as last year they did very well;
                          St. Jerome
                          Marseilles Monticello
                          St. Rita
                          Papa Johns
                          Col de Dam Noir
                          Kathleen's Black
                          Rouge de Bordeaux
                          Black Marseilles VS

                          My favorites;
                          Battaglia Green
                          Col de Dam Blanc
                          Blanch de Deux Saissons
                          Norella - still a young tree and it was very close between this and Kathleen's Black
                          Ronde de Bordeaux

                          I know I'm forgetting a bunch of varieties and I really had fun last year with so many ripe varieties to try. My favorites are the green figs with the very dark red flesh that have a berry flavor and I have a lot of them (they should be listed as well). I didn't mention certain of these that should be at the top (like Adriatic JH) because due to critter theft my harvest was very low.

                          I think to make these lists more valuable all the figs sampled need to be listed.

                          Also I have varieties I expect to be at the top as they age (Preto, Black Madeira, Vasalika Sika, Black Ischia, etc,) and others I've traded for that are said to be wonderful.

                          As I approach 300 varieties (I just can't seem to stop!!!!) even though I destroyed 40+ varieties last year as I found them unsuitable for growing here in Virginia Zone 7A (or as unknowns of mediocre taste).

                          I think that there probably is no such thing as the "TOP FIVE" because there are just too many DAMN GOOD FIGS!!

                          Anyway that's my 2 cents worth for the day.

                          Well that and . . .

                          I've never had a properly ripened fig I did not like of ANY variety.


                          • silveradocanman
                            silveradocanman commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Perfect! I was hoping for a response like this

                        • #16
                          In my view, if you live much north of Atlanta, Austin, Phoenix, and Los Angeles growing zones, some of your best tasting figs are likely to be those that begin to ripen relatively early, especially if you wish to eat/produce figs bountifully, beyond a few handfuls. Four of the most reliable and earliest ripening main crop figs are Ronde de Bordeaux, Marseilles (White), LSU Improved Celeste, and Florea. These 4 varieties can ripen weeks before most any others, more or less putting them in a class by themselves. Other cultivars that ripen not more than 2 or 3 weeks later that I've had good success with, and that have great flavor, include Brooklyn White, the Violette de Bordeauxs, and the Mongibellos / Mt Etnas, which in particular are very productive. (Kerry lists at least 5 Mongibello / Mt Etna above.)
                          You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 11 photos.
                          Tony WV 6b


                          • mgginva
                            mgginva commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I agree completely.

                        • #17
                          For now, I too expect to taste many new varieties so today my votes would go with

                          1. Smith
                          2. Preto/BM
                          3. Adriatic JH
                          4. Paradiso Gene
                          5. Genovese Nero.

                          Seems a good bet that I-258 will oust Paradiso from that list. I have 10 total and 6 different Col de Dame varieties. So far I would not put them in the top five. Maybe Ponte Tresa will also make a run someday? Who knows!
                          Zone 10b, Miami, FL


                          • Claymango
                            Claymango commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Just curious checking out the ratings everyone has posted and I notice you have Smith beating the infamous B.M./ Preto? If you dont mind could you tell me if you still share this opinion and what flavor profile do you get from both that has influenced your favorites. Ty brother

                          • Rafaelissimmo
                            Rafaelissimmo commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Hi Clay

                            I still do consider my Smith to be my top overall fig although I can confirm I-258 to be the best I have tasted, I am still evaluating 258 for productivity and ripening times. The Smith ripened its entire crop between 8/19 and 9/19 in zone 7b, and they don't split and stay on the tree a reasonable amount of time before souring or rotting. They taste great, and are very productive. I also found DeLa Reina and Martinenca Rimada to be very promising as well as my Paradiso Giovanni and Bourjasotte Gris. preto/BM are still a favorite but they just split too much or ripen too late. In a long, hot summer they can do better but the overall losses make this an impractical fig to some extent. In ground and in the right zone (8-10) they do better but for me I am having better success with other varieties.
                            Last edited by Rafaelissimmo; 02-20-2017, 11:19 PM.

                          • Rafaelissimmo
                            Rafaelissimmo commented
                            Editing a comment
                            To answer re flavor profile, 258 has the deepest berry flavor of any fig I've tried, period. That says plenty. BM/Preto still has a complex and unique flavor worth the effort. Smith is also quite berry-like but it is harder to pin down. Smith is just an awesome fig, but I should clarify that it is the JF & E version that I grow, and I have not tasted the Becnel version, which seems to be a little different, lighter, later and uglier.

                        • #18
                          This is a great thread. I like how even though this topic gets covered every so often, it is interesting to see how opinions can change as different cultivars are trialed and updated.

                          Very interesting and helpful info from Michael. It is interesting to hear how top-notch chefs weigh in on these excellent varieties.

                          Good insight from Tony, too, regarding some of the early ripening figs. Thank you.


                          • #19
                            Off the top of my head

                            1. VdB - great tasting fig. Everybody should have one
                            2. Kathy Black - I like them so much I propagated a second tree
                            3. Smith - ugly fig but I'll take all I can get
                            4. Malta Black
                            5. Improved Celeste

                            Like many other people I've got a lot of three year olds that I expect to produce some great tasting figs this summer.
                            Rick - Port Isabel, Texas / zone - 10a


                            • #20
                              Unk. Pastilliere, Bourjassotte Gris, Lampeira Preta, Ohra, i258, El Molino . Zidi from a first year plant was probably good too but I managed to see only a half of it
                              USDA z 10a, SoCal. WL: Boysenberry Blush


                              • Levar
                                Levar commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Thanks. But regarding overall character and flavor profile, would you say that they're similar or even possibly related? I remember Vasile saying that I258 was comparable to Black Madeira while the OurFigs variety database says I258 was comparable to Bourjassotte. Just curious.

                              • Altadena Mara
                                Altadena Mara commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Levar, both my I-258s and Bourjassotte Grises were first year trees last year and, like Greenfig, I found they tasted very similar. They were among my best tasting figs last year. Perhaps BG was a little more fragrant but that could be climate also. Both were fruity and sweet. Harvey posted that his BG recorded a brix sugar level of 23, which is pretty sweet.
                                Some people complain that BG drops its fruit with climate stress and other people insist that never happens in their location. I-258 doesn’t drop its fruit, stress or no stress.
                                There are pictures posted of I-258’s large brebas. I couldn’t find any mention of BG’s brebas, but both varieties have emerging little figs now on my trees.

                              • Levar
                                Levar commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Thanks, Mara.
                                I only have I258 and I was wondering whether I'm missing out on BG. Great to know about I258's fruit retention. Please keep us updated on how they progress.

                            • #21
                              Last year was my first year for figs and many tasted very much alike. Perhaps in a few years I’ll be able to tell the difference. I think in terms of five taste catagories, and my favorites so far by taste are:

                              Sugar fig- (molasses/sugar sweet range) LSU Purple* (2nd -Improved Celeste/O’Rourke PftP)
                              Honey fig- (light figs with honey flavor) Pete’s Honey
                              Light berry fig- (light figs usually green or yellow with berry flavored interior)
                              Strawberry Verte, Adriatic JH, I-258, Bourjasotte Gris, (all tasted very similar to me -wonderful!)
                              Bordeaux berry fig- (dark figs with sweet rich berry flavor, "jammy") Violette de Bordeaux, Ronde de Bordeaux,
                              Unique Dark berry fig-, (sweet dark figs with rich berry flavor, complex flavor) Col de Dame Noir, Black Madiera,

                              Perhaps there should be a category for “Old Reliable”, -figs that aren’t super stars in flavor, but are abundant over a long period of time and still taste very good. You can count on them to feed you over an extended season: Lattarulla EL (Danny’s Delight), Unknown Owensboro

                              *The nursery sent me the wrong tree labeled as LSU Purple, but people on the forums helped me identify the correct LSU Purple. It needs maturity for the best flavor. I'm guessing there are a lot of mis-labeled LSU Purple trees out there.
                              Last edited by Altadena Mara; 02-28-2016, 10:10 AM.
                              Mara, Southern California,
                              Climate Zone: 1990=9b 2012= 10a 2020=?


                              • mgginva
                                mgginva commented
                                Editing a comment
                                I'd add Lemon to your "Old Reliable" category as mine produces bumper crops every year (4 so far} and although it isn't a flavor star it is great for cooking with.

                            • #22
                              I was so surprised at the development of flavor and texture as the fruit nears perfect ripening. We hear alot about picking at the right time but its so true.
                              My young but vigorous Atreano, was spectacular when picked 2 days after I would have picked it. Postings and response from members on this site encouraged me to wait and it is good advice for all varieties.
                              RdB was very good as was Lebanese Red. Hardy Chicago was a gift that just kept giving - it was my Fathers day present from the family


                              Really happy with what I have.


                              • #23
                                I put this together a couple years ago. Dont know if you will find this of
                                any interest or not. Excuse the way it runs together, I copied from another website
                                and this is the end result.

                                2013 Fig Information zone 8a Newnan, Ga.

                                Malta Black Breba 7/19/13 BP 8 Not sweet
                                Zingarella Breba 7/20/13 BP 6 Not sweet
                                Petite Negri 7/25/13 BP 8 Very sweet
                                Wuhan 7/26/13 P 2 Split, not sweet
                                Tacoma Violet 7/29/13 BP 8 Sweet
                                Madeleine des Deux 7/31/13 BP 7 Very Large
                                Malta Black Main 8/5/13 BP 9 Best Producer
                                Brunswick 8/13/13 BP 4 It is a goner
                                O’Rourke (JR) 8/22/13 P 8 Good enough
                                Zingarella Main 8/25/13 BP 9 In my top five
                                Blanquette 9/12/13 P 8 Keeper
                                Gino’s Black 8/25/13 BP 9.5 In my top five
                                Paradisio (Morle) 8/26/13 BP 7 Splits
                                LSU Purple 8/30/13 BP 7 Questionable
                                Sicilian Black 8/30/13 BP 6 Splits
                                Black Triana 9/2/13 BP 7 Splits
                                Sultane 9/2/13 BP 8.5 Has potential
                                Lyndhurst White 9/3/13 P 8.5 Keeper
                                Hollier 9/4/13 BP 8.5 Ugly fig
                                Marsellies Black 9/6/13 P 9.5 Awesome
                                Kathleen’s Black 9/8/13 BP 8 Lots of promise
                                Thibodeaux 9/9/13 P 8 Keeper
                                Malta Black Main 9/9/13 BP 9.5 Top five
                                Bethlehem Black 9/12/13 BP 8.5 Keeper
                                Red Lebanese Tripoli 9/19/8 P 8 Keeper
                                Black Greek 9/19/13 P 8 Keeper
                                Kesariani 9/19/13 BP 9.9 Awesome
                                Sals EL 9/19/13 P 8 Lots of promise
                                Alma 9/20/13 P 8 Keeper
                                Ischia Black 9/21/13 P 7 Lots of promise
                                Ronde de Bordeaux 9/21/13 BP 9.5 Awesome
                                Doree 9/22/13 P 8 Keeper
                                Royal Vineyard 9/22/13 P 6.5 Questionable
                                Izbat an Naj 9/22/13 P 7 Gets more time
                                Adriatic 9/22/13 BP 8 Not JH
                                Trijano Calabrese 9/23/13 P 7 Gets more time
                                Smith 9/27/13 BP 8.5 Ugliest fig
                                LSU Gold 10/2/13 P 7 Gets more time
                                Ischia Green 10/3/13 P 5 Goner
                                Baskinta Purple 10/3/13 P 7.5 Keeper
                                LSU Scotts Black 10/9/13 BP 8.5 Keeper
                                White Triana 10/14/13 P 3 Goner
                                Unk Sarasota 10/14/13 P 7 Red Sicilian ?
                                Neroo600m 10/14/13 P 8 Lots of promise
                                VdB 10/21/13 P 10 Excellent
                                Black Madeira 10/21/13 BP 10 Excellent
                                Col de Dame Noir 11/1/13 P unk Lots of promise

                                I wanted to provide this information not only for the newbies but anyone who finds it valuable.

                                Ripening date is the first fig picked from that variety.
                                P = pot sat on concrete walk or driveway.
                                BP = pot was buried 8-10 inches and was mulched with pine straw.

                                For 2015 here are my favorites. As someone already said, it is difficult to list just the top five.

                                In pots.

                                Col Littmans Black Cross
                                Aubique Petite
                                Black Madeira
                                Genoves Nero (Art)

                                In ground.

                                Unk. Afghanistan
                                Bouriasotte Noir
                                Dominicks Italian
                                St. Rita
                                Malta Black
                                Col de Dame Grise
                                Rose Marys NY Purple
                                Carini Unk
                                Bethlehem Black
                                Attilio Purple

                                newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA


                                • newnandawg
                                  newnandawg commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  Michael, there are number of reasons for the ripening time difference. Amount of sun,
                                  water, nutrients in the fertilizers used, age of plants. The information above is two
                                  years old. I would expect the ripening time to be somewhat earlier this year.

                                • mgginva
                                  mgginva commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  Yes those factors can affect things.
                                  I'm not sure I understand why because the info is 2 years old it would cause the trees to ripen later.
                                  Red flag to me is a possible variety snafu. Or perhaps the plants are very young and somewhat confused (perhaps that is what you are referring to about when saying that they should ripen earlier after the passage of a couple of years).
                                  I pointed these discrepancies out as I am very interested in ripening times and it will be interesting to see more mature tree's consistencies. As I add more of the varieties I like best (ex, I will go from 3 to 10 Ronde de Bordeaux's this year, etc.) I can experiment and try and discover just how much if any each of these factors has on varietal ripening.
                                  I hope you will keep recording your ripening times as I think it's info like that that should be shared by members.
                                  If you send me your email I'll send you my list from last year on a "WORD" document.
                                  I am making a concerted effort to collect cold hardy varieties and would love to share whatever info you/we have.
                                  I am interested in the Zingarella that is NOT the same as Gypsy. Do you know which your's is?
                                  May I ask why you are ditching your Ischia Green? I love mine (originated from the collection at Monticello).
                                  OK -- thx thx thx,

                                • richardk
                                  richardk commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  do you have any inside pictures of the Baskinta purple that you could post or send me. Thank You

                              • #24
                                Great info here thanks to all for sharing.. Very helpful for people starting a collection.
                                Iowa Z5


                                • #25
                                  Well, like many others here I have many varieties that are supposedly great.. but have yet to mature enough to share that greatness with me, they have given some figs but the flavor hasn't developed. I also can't give a place to any tree which has given me only a handful or less of figs

                                  - Navid's UDG
                                  - Petite Negra RT
                                  -Hardy Chicago, which is thus far my work horse and the standard for me to compare other figs to.
                                  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!