Friggin’ Fig

Ode to a Pathetic Harvest

by Karen Bertelsen



I paid cash for this tree that I bought in the spring.

Fig Tree

With hopes of a glorious showing of figs.
Italian Fig


Instead I got one,
Tiny Fig


The size of my thumb,
Little Fit


What could I do …
Italian Fig 2


But split it in two.


Figs With Blue Cheese


I ate half of my fig with a dose of blue cheese,


The other side made me weak in the knees,

With proscuitto and walnuts

and a drizzle of honey …

That one single fig was worth every bit of my money.

©Karen Bertelsen


  1. Lee says:

    Same thing happened to me, I got one fig the first year & it was the most delicious fruit I’ve ever eaten in my life! Unfortunately my niece happened to be visiting & I had to share half of it with her. Still worth it. I have asked & asked again but have never seen a fresh fig in a grocery store. Ever! I brought it in the house for the winter & moved it to the greenhouse this spring.
    This year it has 7 figs on it !!!
    Love ur blog chicy!

  2. Vanessa says:

    I’ve got a fig question for you. How do you eat them? I mean, can you eat the skin or do you kind of scrape the inside off like eating an artichoke leaf? I just moved into my grandparents house and inherited a huge fig tree. I grew up with the tree but the figs have always freaked me out. I might try one…maybe.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Vanessa – You eat fits skin and all. The skin is very tender. No need to peel it. You can either just pop it in your mouth or put it on a cracker with goat’s cheese or any other way you like. You can also make fig jam. If you have a whole, huge tree, you’d better start eating them! A lot of people would kill for that tree. :) ~ karen! (I wouldn’t … I’d only maim)

  3. Irene says:

    Hi Karen

    My house has always belonged to Greeks, right from when it was built in 1927, and thus the garden is full of fruit trees, including 3 figs. They’re really old!
    My problem is that in the last 10 years or so all the figs fall off when they are still tiny little rocks.
    Not sure, but I suspect that this is because I planted beds around them all, and they now get WAY more watering than before. Also, I live in a summer rainfall area and I would imagine that figs are from winter rainfall areas, so would need to be fairly dry in summer.
    Whatcha think? Have you heard of this all before?
    Good luck with your baby!

  4. Danielle says:

    I bought a fig tree and it has been loaded with green figs two years in a row. Unfortunately, they taste like mushy nothing. They’re disgusting. Apparently there are indedible-fig trees and fig trees, and I got the wrong kind.

    • Karen says:

      So I’ve heard from others! That one fig I got was really good. Way better than any I’ve had from a grocery store. Search out a good fig.

  5. Izzy says:

    because i spend some time in georgia with fig trees that literally droop with fruit, i was ecstatic when i saw that there was a fig tree for our zone here in canada. i got 2 little figs and now, with it standing leafless in the middle of my back garden, and a dusting of snow overnight, i’m terrified it won’t last the winter. how are you protecting yours. i’m thinking of a nice thick duvet :)

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Well I’ll admit I never thought of a duvet but that would probably be perfect! My figs have to be protected slightly more so I’m going to put it in my shed for the winter. If it gets especially cold I’ll insulate it somehow. I just haven’t figured out/decided how! ~ karen

  6. Barbie says:

    Is it supposed to produce more as the years go on? Like an avocado tree?

    • Karen says:

      Yes. :) Like any fruit tree. It gets bigger and better and badder as the years go by. I hope, LOL. That’s the plan anyway. ~ karen!

  7. Melissa says:

    love this post! its a gorgeous fig Albeit ONE.
    Two suggestions. Get that fig out of our that bag and INTO the Ground. Figs do NOT need special soils – just some occasional water and ALOT of Sun! A fig will grow btw a Crack in the cement!
    2) Give it all day sun
    that’s it.
    i had a green fig Sprout where a Lemon tree died. it is Huge Now and i have to maintain its Suckers! I live in San Jose which is Warmest in July and August- that’s when they get ripe. they had too much water this year so Dry Farm.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Melissa – It’s in a pot, not a bag, LOL. And it can’t go in the ground. It’s the way we grow figs here in Southern Ontario. They’re left in a pot and brought into a garage or shed and insulated for the winter. Then in the spring, they’re brought out again. :) Occasionally someone will dig a trench and bury their fig tree, but for the most part, we just drag the pot into a more forgiving area. ~ karen!

  8. Patti says:

    I can’t say what type of fig tree that I have, it was brought from Italy in the early 1900’s by my grandfather. He took a cutting of it every time he moved to a different home. My tree was planted in the early 1950’s. It doesn’t get cut or wrapped and grows more like a bush, many stems. We had tons of figs this year…almost too many to handle. Don’t give up on your figs!

  9. Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says:

    I bought two fig trees one year ago. I overwintered them in my attached garage in pots. Light was minimal and watering sporadic.
    In spring I planted them directly into the garden. One is a Chicago Hardy Fig which is brown and supposed to be hardy in my zone 6. The other is an unnamed white fig, from an elderly Italian gentleman, and is not hardy. I will dig it up shortly, pot it and place it into the garage for winter.

    To safeguard his white fig trees, the Italian gentleman makes a circular wire surround and fills it with leaves and straw to insulate the top growth from temperature extremes. When top growth is killed, roots often survive and new branches will emerge the following year, but they may not have enough time to produce ripe fruit before the cold weather returns. (My trees have at least a dozen small fruits that will succumb to frost any minute now.) On TV I have seen people burying enormous fig trees at the end of each growing season, laying them down horizontally, then later unearthing them and setting them upright again. (Victory Garden, PBS)

    I had about 2 dozen figs total from the 2 trees in their first year. I netted many of the figs after I noticed them approaching ripeness, thwarting chipmunks and birds. I chose a very sunny location, provided gobs of my own compost, mulched the area to preserve moisture and watered in the absence of rain. At the local grocery store, figs were selling Three For Two Dollars !!!!!!! That’s three individual figs, not three packages.

    Figs do not flower, at least I did not see flowers. The fruit comes right out of the bark. I wonder what role pollinators play in this?

  10. Indira says:

    …imagine what you could do with too!!! BRAVO maestro! :-))

  11. Janelle says:

    What a lovely, zen-like attitude you have toward your meagre bounty. Makes me want to do yoga, or meditate, or some sh*t like that.

  12. Bols says:

    Maybe you can find one nice big fig leave and hit the streets as Eve on Halloween. :-)
    Although the way the weather is shaping up, you would have not only your fig leaf on, but also goosebumps the size of figs.

  13. Linda Callahan says:

    Here in Oklahoma, it can get down to zero in the winter. I have a brown turkey fig in a large container and do not bring it in but keep it on the south side. It has produced zip, nada, nothing this year. My Mom who can grow peanut butter put hers in the ground and had more figs than she could eat. Oh, and my passion fruit vine has taken over the house.

  14. Sebrah says:

    My aunt was disappointed with her single fig last year. She lurves figs and dreamed of a bountiful harvest.
    This year? She was giving them away because there have been so many!! Hope the fig gods are kind to you next year too :-)

  15. Shelia says:

    We only got one fig our first year too. Hang in there. We’re on our fourth year and ate figs all summer long. Squirrels are a problem. They like the figs as much as we do.

  16. Grammy says:

    You just won’t stop, will you? First I sat and drooled over your impending kitchen makeover. While I’m exceedingly happy that a good kid like you gets one, I feel sorry for myself that I don’t. Okay, I’m shallow and selfish.

    Now you have a fig tree that produced the most beautiful, wonderful fig! I’m not kidding about that — the pictures and the poem are a perfect tribute to that fig. Brilliant.

    I have a fig tree that sprouted up in the yard a few years ago on its own, and I was thrilled. It is now HUGE and produces thousands of figs. Twice a year. What’s not to love? Here’s what — all the figs are inedible. Apparently the birds planted the only kind of fig that needs a pollinator companion tree to produce edible fruit. So I spend days in the Spring and Autumn raking up piles of fruit that won’t ripen and is just dry mealy stuff on the inside, because my husband loves the shade the massive tree produces even if it gives us nothing else. And no, I don’t have room to put in a pollinator.

  17. Kristin says:

    But such a lucky thing you are!
    My Bramley apple (singular)
    So small it makes me wince,
    Still beats my barren quince.

  18. Donna says:

    Remember what they say about plants—-the first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they LEAP–hope our fig follows the rules!!

  19. Natalie says:

    Ha! This is pure awesome!

  20. Darling Karen:
    this year, quality not quantity
    next year, quality AND quantity
    Rinse and repeat xoxo

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