As I think about our last Prune-a-thon event, which is happening this Saturday and will focus on pruning fig trees, I can’t help but reminisce about my first time harvesting figs last summer. The reason I remember it so well is because it was also my first time ever eating a fresh fig.
I was picking figs in Capitol Hill on a private residence. It was July 13th-which I was told at the time was WAAAAY earlier than when figs normally ripen in these parts. I had almost zero concept of how large or abundant a normal fig tree is but this tree felt large. I’d say the tree was about 50 feet tall. Anyway, it was DOWNPOURING that day and my rain jacket was soaked through in about 2 minutes. The thing about fig leaves is that they are super strong and can hold a lot of water on them so in addition to the rain falling, every time I bumped a leaf, it would essentially drop a water balloons’ amount of water on my head. As I’ve learned now, this is not an ideal time to pick figs as the skin can be sensitive, so the first one I picked, I ripped off much of the outer skin and because I was going to sell these, I figured this was a great reason to try my first ever fresh fig. I ate the full thing (a majority of people just open up the fig and eat the insides but I didn’t know better) and my taste buds danced for joy. I could not believe how delicious figs were! I ate a couple more right away and then tried to restrain myself as I was going to sell them to the Tom Douglas Restaurants, but I couldn’t help myself! Whenever I “accidentally” tore off a bit too much skin and they didn’t look beautiful, I decided the right thing to do would be to not let it go to waste and I’d just eat it whole on the spot. I ate at least 12 figs or so and was SOOOO very full. I was returned to my seven year old self with that mixed feeling of discomfort and pure pleasure one gets from eating half a bowl of cookie dough while waiting for the oven to heat (ok, I still do that.) It was great!
I then delivered almost 5 crates full (about 250 figs) to the Tom Douglas restaurant Serious Pie and Biscuit. I was very nervous as this was my first sale and I didn’t know how acceptable these would be to such a prestigious restaurant. I brought them in and passively asked the lead chef if what I had brought in was ok. To my great surprise, she was ecstatic! She called the cooks over to take a look and people even started taking selfies with the apparently gigantic figs that I had just brought in. I felt like a million bucks leaving that day and couldn’t wait for my next time picking figs! (Let the record show that I gained some self-control after that first overindulgence, but picking figs is still one of the highlights of my harvesting days.)