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Sunday, September 8, 2013


FIG FEST IN TOWN--This year’s California Fig Fest, an industry event keen on promoting fig awareness, will be held in San Diego, Sunday, September 8 at the San Diego Public Market, 1735 National Avenue in Barrio Logan.  The event was formerly held in Fresno, which is even more off the map than figs.

Now in San Diego, the California Fig Fest 2013 features more than 40 amazing chefs, food purveyors, wine makers and breweries ready to celebrate the tasty and relatively unsung fresh and dried California figs.

Festivities begin from 4 to 7 pm.
Ticket info:

Savor local food, extraordinary wines and craft brews, revel in the entertainment and cheer your favorite chefs in the Culinary Competition. Take home recipes, samples and treats.

Watch for last minute updates on participating chefs and their creative offerings featuring California Figs. 

Participating Chefs so far include:
Chef Jeff Jackson, A.R. Valentien
Chefs Nicolas Bour & James Kozak, Avant
Chef Amy DiBiase, Baleen
Chef George Morris, Beaumont's Eatery
Chef Patrick Ponsaty, Bellamy's Restaurant
Chef Gayle Covner, Blueprint Cafe
Chef Katie Grebow, Cafe Chloe
Chef Joanne Squires-Sherif, Cardamom (Bakery)
Dave Rudie/Tommy Gomes, Catalina Offshore
Beatriz Ledezma, Caxao Chocolates
Robin Ross, Cupcakes Squared
Michelle Ciccarelli Lerach, Cups
Chef Drew Deckman, Deckmans
Chef Olivier Bioteau, Farm House Café
Chef Mark Kropczynski, Grant Grill
Chef Carmine Lopez, Great Maple
Chef Flor Franco, Indulge Catering
Chef David Baron, Jackie's Jam
Chef Christian Graves, JSix
Chef Gregory Frey, BlueFire Grill
Chef Benito Molina, Manzanilla
Chef Martin San Ramon, Martin San Ramon Catering
Chef Javier Plascencia, Misión 19
Chef Guido Nistri, Monello, Bencotto
Chef Rachel King, NINE-TEN
Chef Michael Alves, Roseville Cozhina
Chef Ryan Steyn, Ryan Steyn Catering
Chef Maeve Schulz, Sugar & Scribe
Chef Matt Richman, Table 926
Chef Jean-Michel Diot, Tapenade
Catherine Demuth-Pepe, Temecula Olive Oil
Chef Bradley Austin, Tender Greens
Chef Jeff Rossman, Terra American Bistro
Chefs Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver, The Marine Room
Chef Miguel Valdez, The Red Door/Wellington
Gina Frieze, Venissimo Cheese with Bread & Cie
Chef Dawn Parks, Wild Thyme

This fundraiser is produced by California Figs and Les Dames d'Escoffier San Diego Chapter; your purchase benefits Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center, Culinary Scholarships and Grants, and the Public Market Kitchen.

What is a Fig?
A fig is a small, edible fruit that grows on most species of Ficus tree. They come in several varieties, colors, and sizes, though they all tend to be somewhat bulbous in shape and very sweet. Many people prefer to eat the fruits fresh from the tree, and nearly all parts are edible; the raw fruit is generally considered quite healthful, too, as it contains a number of important vitamins and minerals while also being high in natural fiber and antioxidants. Some of these benefits are lost if the fruit is dried or cooked, though these preparations are also very popular.

Figs in the news
Janice Kleinschmidt, Editor of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles, blogs about figs at the following site:

The following fig update by Karen Contreras appeared in San Diego Home/Garden’s E-Club newsletter.   Karen is CEO of Urban Plantations in San Diego:

Grow Figure
Fig trees are beautiful, easy to grow and produce an abundance of delicious fruit every year. They’re disease resistant, drought tolerant and can be propagated easily from backyard cuttings.

Growing figs is easy in San Diego County, but finding the warmest location on your property and selecting the right variety is the key to sweet, delicious fruit. On the coast, choose varieties such as ‘Black Mission,’ ‘Celeste,’ ‘Conadria’ and ‘White Genoa.’ Farther inland, where climates are warmer, try any of these, but add ‘Kadota’ and ‘Black Jack’ to your list. ‘Black Jack’ fig trees also can be grown in pots on a balcony or patio.

Most of the fruit is produced on the first-year’s growth of fig trees. Since they can grow from 6 to 8 feet per year, it’s good to cut them back during the winter after they lose their leaves.

Though figs love the heat and are drought tolerant, they like a good layer of mulch over their roots to keep the soil cool and weed-free in summer. Excess water during the ripening period can cause loss of flavor.

Fig trees have very few insect or disease problems. Birds can be pests in home gardens, but netting will keep them out of your trees. Keeping trees short and manageable by pruning them yearly will make it easier to net the trees as the fruit ripens.

Birds are pretty darn smart when it comes to ripe fruit. Mylar balloons and reflecting tapes or hanging old CDs from limbs (bouncing light from the silver finish) work great in the very short term; but because figs ripen over a long period of time, the birds get wise and invade. Netting is the best way to go if you have problems with birds.

Ants also can be a problem, but a layer of sticky Tanglefoot around the base of the tree and keeping the lower branches of the tree pruned up off the ground will eliminate ants from your fruit.

Harvesting your figs at the ideal time can be tricky. Fruit should be soft to the touch; in most cases, the skin will split. If you pull a fig off and you see white sticky sap, it’s too early to harvest. Tasting is the only way to know if fruit is sweet enough to harvest.

‘Calimyrna’ figs are, in my opinion, the best tasting of all figs. However, they are not very suitable for home gardens, because the female fig trees require male caprifigs to pollinate them with the help of a very specific wasp. California ‘Calimyrna’ figs are grown mainly in the Central Valley, where orchardists hang bags of tiny wasps to fertilize female trees with pollen from male trees. The technique works well in large growing environments, but we do not recommend planting them in the home garden because so little fruit is produced—by Karen Contreras, Urban Plantations, 619-563-5771,

Note:  Urban Plantations cares for dozens of fig tree orchards in San Diego. Personnel will be handing out fresh figs and answering questions on how to grow figs at Fig Fest San Diego on Sept. 8 at the Public Market. For more information about Fig Fest San Diego and to purchase tickets, visit

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