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Current Position:Home » News » Agri & Animal Products » Fruits & Vegetables » Topic

Figs have become mainstream and create excitement again

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2017-06-30  Views: 3
Core Tip: North America’s fig season is in full swing and there is a lot of excitement for the category,” says George Kragie with Western Fresh Marketing.
“North America’s fig season is in full swing and there is a lot of excitement for the category,” says George Kragie with Western Fresh Marketing. “Figs are sexy again,” he added. The large majority of figs available in the US and Canada are grown in California. “Some other countries in the Southern Hemisphere grow figs, but in order to get access to the US, they need to be irradiated or undergo a methyl bromide treatment, which significantly reduces shelf-life.”

Harvest started late May

For Western Fresh Marketing, harvest started late May in the Coachella Valley in the southernmost fields in California. This location enables an early start. Figs are unique as they produce a first and a second crop each year. “The trees are persistent and continue to grow fruit buds as long as they have enough light and warm weather,” shared Kragie. At the end of the season, they will have a bud started for next year’s fruit. When the tree comes out of dormancy in spring, the bud finishes its growth cycle prior to this year’s new fruit buds. “The first crop from last year’s buds is called breva,” Kragie explained.

Main crop follows breva crop
There is usually a 10-day lag between the end of the breva crop and the start of the new crop. The breva crop starts in the California desert with Brown Turkeys. From there, it moves to Kern County where Black Missions are grown and then into California’s Central Valley, close to the town of Madera. By the time the breva crop finishes in the Central Valley, harvest of the main crop will have started in the desert. The main fig varieties that are grown in California are Brown Turkeys, Black Missions, Calimyrnas, Sierras and Kadotas. In addition, there is limited production of the Tiger Stripe variety, a specialty fig.

8-month supply
Western Fresh Marketing offers California figs from May until December, about seven to eight months. “We are the only company that can do this, because our growing region extends from the far south all the way up into the Central Valley,” mentioned Kragie. Western Fresh works with about six to seven fig growers. “We do not grow figs ourselves as I want to prevent a conflict of interest with my growers,” shared Kragie. “We provide our growers with a label that is well recognized in the market. After our growers have packed the product, we market it out of cold storage.” Figs are distributed across 50 states and have strong representation in Canada as well. Western Fresh markets 4.5 million pounds of figs each season. “We are one of the largest, if not the largest fig marketer in North America,” shared Kragie.

From ethnic to mainstream
In the past, figs were mainly consumed by people of Middle Eastern, Italian and Greek descent. “Featuring the fruit variety in recipes in many different magazines has increased popularity beyond ethnicity. Big fig displays in grocery stores also contribute to increased consumption. Gone are they days where figs were just available in little plastic baskets,” finished Kragie.

keywords: figs
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