Cancel OK

Fresh figs make their brief appearance

fresh figs

For the consumer, “figs” means two different things.

There’s the dried version, which, like many dried fruits, is associated with the holiday season—as in those Christmas carols that mention “figgy pudding.”

Then there’s the fresh version. Whenever I see these delicate items in the produce section, I wonder how anybody managed to get them from orchard to supermarket in such good condition.

richard smoley produce blueprints

Unlike many fruits these days, which are available year-round, fresh figs are highly seasonal. Usually, I only manage to buy a basket or two per year.

The season for fresh figs is now, announces the California Fresh Fig Growers Association (CFFGA).

“California Fresh Figs this season will be excellent,” says CFFGA chief executive officer Karla Stockli. “When you see them, buy them! Each variety is a special treat, and the window to enjoy is short but sweet!”

The CFFGA describes the principal varieties in California:

• “Mission. Purple and black skin with deep earthy flavor.
• “Kadota. Creamy amber skin with a light flavor.
• “Brown Turkey. Light purple to black skin with robust flavor.
• “Sierra. Light-colored skin with a fresh, sweet flavor.
• “Tiger. Light yellow color with unique dark green stripes and a bright red-purple interior fruit with fruity, raspberry, citrus flavor.

“To promote this year’s fresh fig season domestically,” CFGGA has announced, “ the industry is partnering with Instacart on a paid promotion and placing a nationally distributed lifestyle TV segment airing August 25 on ‘Daytime’ and September 3 on ‘The Lifestyle List.’ The industry will round out its fresh marketing efforts in 2022 with deliveries to media and nutrition influencers across the country.

“Canada is the California Fig industry’s #1 export market, with nearly 50 percent of the fresh crop crossing over the border annually,” the organization notes.

As I remember, there are plenty of recipes that use fresh figs along with other ingredients in innovative and delicious ways.

The only one that comes to mind at the moment is combining them with prosciutto.

But who am I kidding? I almost never wait for the prosciutto.


Richard Smoley, contributing editor for Blue Book Services, Inc., has more than 40 years of experience in magazine writing and editing, and is the former managing editor of California Farmer magazine. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities, he has published 12 books.