Yet another great thing about Davis, CA: picking public fruit. We just recently got hip to a commemorative mini orchard near my house. Really, it’s a park with a bunch of different fruit trees that commemorates the orchards that used to be there. Since Davis is an ideal place to grow things, there are plums, oranges, apples, and yes, FIGS (seasonally) growing literally a ten minute walk from my house.
I love figs. I am half Italian, so I grew up eating them, but they’re not very easy to acquire unless you have a tree of your own- they are sold for near astronomical prices (if they’re sold at all). If you’ve ever eaten a fig, you know why; aside from having an amazing honey-like sweetness, they area extremely fragile and have a short shelf-life, making it seemingly impossible to transport, like most of our fruits and vegetables are, across the country and the world.
My boyfriend Mike discovered one of these nearby fig trees yesterday, heavy with ripe Black Mission Figs. Many of the lower branches had already been picked clean, but with his ingenuity and good memory of a tool for just such an occasion, he found this amazing basket tool at the local hardware store.
The top has a little claw to snap the fruit off the vine with a basket below to catch the fruit. This nifty device is attached to a roughly 10 foot pole, to get those lusted after high-branched fruits.
This wonderful contraption only set us back $22, and we came away with close to 100 figs (don’t worry, we didn’t steal them all- there are still tons more). To put this all in perspective, I saw baskets of 6 figs on sale for $5 at the Farmer’s Market yesterday. I thing we got the better value. Some of the figs are a little mangled, as they are very fragile and easily skewered with “the claw,” but who can beat munching on the mushed ones while picking more?!
This here is our bounty. You might be thinking, “I love a good fig or five, but what could they possibly do with that many?” To which I answer, “There’s fig preserves, figs stuffed with gorgonzola cheese, grilled figs, breakfast, lunch and dinner figs, salad with figs, and the list goes on!”