The fig tree grows in abundance in Davis, due to the Mediterranean climate and the influence of the Spanish monks all those years ago. There are many different variety of figs: some are brown and small, some are green and large, but (almost) all of them are delicious. ('Smyrna', the commercial fig variety, requires cross-pollination with another variety by a specialized pollinator wasp; otherwise it produces small inedible fruit. These have been planted where someone might park a car under the tree and object to ripe fruit dropping.) Due to the difficulty in shipping fresh figs, most figs bought in stores are dried; however, in Davis, one can use the fresh figs found on our public fig trees for a variety of eating and non-eating purposes.

For example, one can:

  • make a fresh fig tart
  • make fig ice cream
  • cook some fig jam
  • make delicious fig cookies
  • accompany fresh figs with good cheese
  • ditto the above with dessert wine or port
  • eat them out of hand
  • cut them in half, put them on your eyes, and make scary noises (then, of course, eat them; don't waste a good fig).

Finding them

The following list provides the location and type of fig trees in Davis. Most fig trees in Davis are 'Mission' or 'Brown Turkey,' but all fig cultivars grow well here and are very tolerant of heat and drought. White-fleshed varieties include 'Kadota' and 'Conadria.'Be aware that the fruit crop can be very large, and the soft fruit can make a mess. The trees can be pruned severely for easier access to the fruit and to reduce the size of the crop. Fig trees reseed readily and are considered somewhat invasive near wild lands. Seedling trees rarely have edible fruit. If you want a good fig tree, plant a cultivar that has been grown from cutting or grafted. Figs have a crop in late spring on old wood, called the "breba" crop, and has the main crop on new wood which ripens from late summer to fall. Please add to the list if you feel any are missing, but only put ones on public lands or those on private lands whose owners have given permission.

One can also find fresh figs at the Davis Food Co-op and the Davis Farmers Market during season (but you can't beat free figs still warm from the sun).