In the book Grow Figs Where You Think You Can't, I set out to inspire people in places where figs don't normally grow to grow a fig tree. I tell readers about the passionate interest in growing figs I have encountered, and how growing figs in cold places is nothing new.
Here's what I say in the book:
Fig Pig is a term I borrowed from the late English garden writer Christopher Lloyd, who described himself as being “passionately fond” of ripe green figs, and as an “archetypal fig pig.”
Actually, I think in my case “passionately fond” is a bit of an understatement. Despite a culinarily cloistered past with Anglo-Saxon and Slavic food heritage (think Yorkshire pudding and sauerkraut), I’m crazy about fresh figs. I have a couple dozen fig trees that live with me and my family in Toronto, Canada, despite the cold, grey winters.
I thought I was an eccentric fig-growing nerd. But I realized I wasn’t alone when I gave a talk about growing figs at a Seedy Saturday gardeners’ event. I brought a couple of extra fig trees for the draw. The winner of one of the trees came up to me afterwards and said that she had multiple offers to buy the tree. Hmmm, I thought, maybe figs are more popular than I realized. So here it is, a book to egg on all you eager fig pigs in coldish climates.
Believe me, it’s possible: In the late 1800s, fig orchards could be found on the outskirts of Paris, France—well outside boundaries dictated by the practicalities of climate. The Parisian demand for fresh figs—and the fact that ripe figs quickly spoil—made it worthwhile for farmers to go to great lengths to supply the French capital. Yes, you can supply yourself with fresh figs too!
“We bought this book for my father-in-law for Christmas... he loves it so much he now wants us to order a copy for his friend.”
Irene, Collingwood, Ontario
"The book is terrific! Smart, informative and funny. It attenuates my 'fig anxiety' with all your practical advice."
Sarah G. Toronto, Ontario