A TOAST: When a fig is good, there are few fruits that can compete with it.
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)
One of the nicest surprises to come out of farmers markets in the last decade has been the explosion in availability of summer's fresh figs. Once they were scarce, now they are relatively plentiful. That is certainly something to be celebrated: When a fig is good, there are few fruits that can compete with it. Figs are harvested twice in a year. The first growth, called the breba
crop, comes from branches that sprouted the previous year. That's the harvest we're seeing now and it'll last for several more weeks. The second, and larger, harvest comes on this year's growth and will begin in late summer and run as late as October for some varieties. Because of the geographical distribution of fig orchards in California, the seasons at farmers markets overlap to the point that we'll have fresh figs with nary a hiccup through fall. Most of the figs we're finding now are Brown Turkeys or Black Missions. If you have a choice, the Black Missions usually have better flavor. Later in the summer we'll see Kadotas and Calimyrnas and beyond. Kadotas are primarily drying figs, but Calimyrnas can be quite exquisite. If you see Adriatics or, even scarcer still, Panachèes, grab them.