Tag Archives: Fruit

THE GARDEN

It has been a difficult year for the garden, I suspect this is due to the drought. Although we have to fight the birds and raccoons, we usually get pretty good Apple and Fig crops but this year both trees gave minimal produce.

 

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Apples 3

Up until last year, the pomegranates came in OK, but they were kinda bitter, but two years ago, someone suggested feeding that tree with coffee grounds, and while last year, we had a pretty tasty harvest, but we are pretty much looking at the entire 2015 harvest (small in quantity, but the flavor is finally there).

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Last night, we took another blow.

Sub freezing temperatures are rare here in the East Bay, but we are experiencing a bout of it now. Our Meyer Lemon tree just emerged from its November/December dormancy, and is currently pregnant with fruit. Naturally, we waited until nightfall to decide to protect it from the frost, so I was out there climbing a ladder in the dark.

 

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This morning, the dog’s water bowl was topped with a layer of ice. I suspect that many of the fruit tree buds are damaged.

Will this take a further toll on our produce? Who knows, Mother Nature has some pretty strong survival mechanisms working for her.

They say that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Maybe the buds that survive the frost will cause the whole plant to produce more vigorously.

As Roseanne Roseannadanna would say, ” It’s always something”.

 

 

Figs

FIGO. Copyright 2024  Jimmy Reina

FIGO. Copyright 2014 Jimmy Reina

Normally my figs ripen around the third week in September (Happy Birthday to me), but three weeks ago, when I saw this Bluejay mucking around in my tree, I knew something was up. The figs are ripening already, and as my Uncle Carl would say, “They’re sweet as sugar”.   In my family, food was a big deal, but Figs were a really big deal.

Before I was born, my Grandparents planted a fig tree in our yard. Figs are Mediterranean plants, and are not suited to the cold, often bitter Midwestern Winters, so every year, prior to the first frost , my Grandfather had to build a shelter around this tree in order to protect it. I was a little kid, but I remember this structure being built from scrap wood, and I think I even remember him straightening out used nails to assemble it (the scars of The Depression never heal). I believe he also filled this shed with dead leaves to provide insulation. The effort involved meant that the annual harvest became precious, maybe two or three Figs per person. Because I lived next door, and helped him with both the shed and the harvest, I think got an extra one.

Something like this becomes such a large sensory memory that it becomes larger than life. My Grandmother sold that house in 1958 or ’59, but for us, that Fig, and the rituals that went with it became a mythic memory. Years later, one of her friends brought back a sapling from Italy. This particular tree had a tendency to send up shoots from its root system, and within a couple of seasons, Grandma gave my Mother one, and many years later, she gave me one. The fig in this photo is a descendent of that sapling from 40 years ago.

There are two more good stories about this tree, but they are for another time.

By the way, this is a Mediterranean Fig. Two other varieties of Fig are grown and marketed here in California, but they are quite different, and while tasty, they don’t push my same buttons.

My Grandmother used to sprinkle sugar on a peeled orange because she said that the fruit in the United States just wasn’t as good as what she remembered in Sicily. It could be an acquired taste, or nostalgia could be the artificial sweetener at play here. Either way, these are some damn good figs-sweet as sugar.