Thursday, July 29, 2010

Of temptation and capitulation

It is 38 days after the fig guessing game:

Now suffer the fig eaters to come unto me...

I find it unlikely that Eve, if she had existed, would have risked so much for the sake of an apple. Especially since it probably tasted a lot like the crabapples we know today. And while the fig and the apple share the distinction of being domesticated very early, the fig seems to be winning, at around 11,400 years ago.

No. I think it would have been a fig. I would behave foolishly for the promise of a plump, perfect, ripe, soft-skinned fig.

Or perhaps it was a pomegranate? Since Eve would have been naked she wouldn't be risking the staining of white linen by cracking open the garnet-juiced fruit.

Anyway. I have been watching my figs ripen slowly. I am not sure how many I have lost to shrivel, perhaps ten? And till today I had eaten three. Two publicly and one on the sly.

Here is one of the ones that has not made it. They drop off quietly, and are quite soft but dry inside...I'm not sure why my ring was back to front.

I have had my eye on this fat one for a couple of days.

And yesterday I picked one from the far side of the tree. It involves standing on a chair and stretching.

Then I had to decide what to do with my picked fig.

Eat it in lonely splendour?

I put it next me while I wrote at the computer.

I resisted. Waiting for two more figs to join it and make it a party.

Today they ripened and this evening was the party.

We sat outside and sipped prosecco from Jay and Guy's glasses and supped on sweet figs.

Update: August figs by the bowlful. And a surfeit of figs.

It's hard to believe that of the three roses on the terrace this one, the Abraham Darby, so near death in the spring, has performed the best. My pink Eglantyne is looking for a home. She is not happy. Not enough sun. Maybe I should move her to the roof. But then I will have to farm with her petals or it won't be a farm anymore.

Vince was home early from work and so we had a rare early dinner outside, with the air actually very pleasant and the humidity bearable. There was a pink sky.

Vitello tonnnato but with pork loin instead of veal, that I poached with carrots, onion, peppercorns and terrace thyme. Whizzed up Italian oil-canned tuna, mayonnaise, capers, cornichons, lemon juice and pepper for the sauce. It is a pale-looking meal but delicious.

Brown baguette from Sahadi's, sweet butter and a real garden salad...

...from the little roof farm I brought down some courgette (zucchini) blossoms, and from the terrace I snipped chives and picked parsley.

Cat: I see my deenhair, bod where is jours?
The hard life of a cat. He hates the gravel so I put down a cloth for his pawpads.
I smell feesh!

Indeed.

I yam steel here an' I yam goeen' to faint!


In the interim the cat fainted and we had some peace. Later he went to the roof to hunt cicadas.

We finished the last of the sparkling wine and ate some peaches.

We finished up with petit fours mouthfuls of freakily delicious Marukawa gum.

I'm looking forward to more terrace weather. It's a nice place.

Want a fig tree?

Liberty Sunset Garden Center in Red Hook has some fine-looking specimens. I saw them yesterday on my walk-run. It was the first time I had visited this appealing nursery. There are a few small fig trees, like mine, then several taller, though young trees, around five to six feet. All of them have green fruit. Mr Gubis also has some citrus: standard Meyer lemons, kumquats and minneolas. I was sorely, sorely tempted by the lemon, wondering how far zone 7 can be stretched on my sheltered terrace.

I think I'll go back.

If you cannot get to Red Hook, but reside in the States, try Joe Morle at Italian Fig Trees. He is based in Massachusetts but ships trees countrywide, has a Facebook page where he answers fig questions, and is generally a fund of fig knowledge. Thanks again to Thomas (who recently bought two of his trees) for steering me to him. Call Joe with fig questions: 1-800-676-3276


13 comments:

  1. I absolutely love this post, because you posted a photo of your fig tree. Now I can see it's size relative to your other plants. I'm going to definitely visit this garden center! I really want to invest in a fig tree. I saw the link of the fig growers you posted for me, I am so amazed by all the different kinds of varieties! Wow. I wonder which is the sweetest?

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  2. Yummy post...I'm drooling all over myself, between the description of the fig "a plump, perfect, ripe, soft-skinned fig" and how it got to be eaten...
    Had I not just finished diner, I'd invite myself over, too bad I guess ;-)

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  3. Well I was going to comment about the figs but I laughed so hard about the cat that my stomach hurts.

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  4. Hi. Just found your blog through a link from Apartment Therapy and immediately bookmarked it. What is the name of the rose in your flower arrangement? It is gorgeous.
    Monica

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  5. What a perfect post. I had to google Marukawa gum to satisfy my curiosity. I'm also wondering about the length of the growing season of a fig tree ? and could it be done here in Nova Scotia (zone 4-5) and that Cat, "the" D. Estorboro what a gem he makes us grin from ear to ear, whisker tips to whisker tips. xo S & les Gang

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  6. Lovely post -- but, please, satisfy my curiosity - why is your cat wearing a shirt???

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  7. meems, yes, that nursery is for you. Hurry!

    Anyes, jajaja.

    Sherri, yes, that's why we keep him.

    Monika - Abraham Darby, by David Austin

    Susan, we have spare gum, should we ship?

    winter blue - http://estorboloco.blogspot.com/2010/06/low-down.html

    and

    http://estorboloco.blogspot.com/2010/07/me-the-red-coad.html

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  8. I talked my husband into going with me next week! So excited! He doesn't like figs....I'll have to change that. :) I have to check out their meyer lemon trees. We have a meyer lemon and lime tree growing in pots, and they have never had any fruit yet. I'll have to inquire with them about proper care for these wonderful trees!

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  9. Marie - I must apologize. If I had read your entire post I would have had my answer on the rose. I love David Austin roses and have not run across this one. Thanks.

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  10. I've been trying to get back all day to reread this beauty of a post.

    The pictures, the words ,the scenes you set, the food you cook,all are so lovely to me.

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  11. There are some who say the forbidden fruit was the quince. I know you're fond of the regal quince, but I suspect the fig might still win in a contest. (The quince was also the golden apple that tempted Venus to steal Helen from Paris and launch a thousand ships.)

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  12. Forbidden fruit! Ha, metaphors. Fig has the most intriguing interior, followed by pomegranate.

    Lovely table setting photos- your mastering this art.

    I like Liberty Sunset's charm, but find the plants (at least perennials) a little tattered and whiteflied. But then who's judging...

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  13. Justify moving the rose to the roof farm by making rose petal sorbet from the fallen petals. This will serve a dual purpose, as rose petal sorbet is considered to be an aphrodisiac.

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