Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Figs


some of the figs the birds hollowed out
Once again my huge fig tree is loaded with fruit and once again I have no need for 95% of them.   It has me thinking about why we have no fig orchards in this region given that fig trees seem to do well here.   I am not the only person with a prolific tree.

Figs are one of those fruits that really have to picked when truly ripe to be appreciated.   The fresh figs for sale in the stores are such a pale shadow of the real deal that I can understand why not a lot of them are sold.    Given that the climate here seems to allow for figs, would it not make sense for someone to plant a couple of acres of trees to supply the local market?

Most years the birds go after my tree just as the fruit is ripe.  I do little to ward them off because I really only use a couple of pounds of the fruit.   If I were to keep the birds off of the tree, I think this one tree would provide about 500 to 1000 pounds of figs.

Figs are not the only thing we could be growing around here that we do not.   We have a real shortage of tree fruits in this region.

This area does not have access to a lot of good quality soft treefruits.   These sorts of fruits do not travel well and the ones for sale in the stores are generally not worth buying.  I will say the quality of the cherries we can buy now is dramatically better than what was available a decade ago.

There is no reason we could not be growing peaches on south facing slopes.   The rock hard bitter things passed off as peaches in the stores are not worth buying, every time I buy some I am very disappointed.  I suspect one could sell them for $3 a pound without much difficulty.  Realistically one should be able to harvest about 15,000 pounds per acre.

Cherries - we should be able to grow these locally but no one seems to be doing it.   Cherries would be an easy $3-$4 a pound and 10,000 pounds per acre.  Organic cherries would be even more money, though there are some real challenges to growing organic cherries due to one pest.   If we do not have it, we could in theory grow a huge amount of organic cherries for the west coast market.

Plums should do well here.   An acre, once the trees are in full production, should bring in 25,000 pounds per acre.   Sell those plums for $2 a pound and you are looking at something in the order of $50,000 gross revenue.

There are people out there that want to farm and some even trying it on small lots.   Treefruits are easier to maintain and look after than ground crops.  It would seem to me to an easy decision to go to soft treefruits.  

I am not going to do it because I have no desire to be a farmer - just not my thing at all.  I will stick to the few fruit trees and bushes that I have.   My only real goal is to eventually be able to grow a couple of hundred pounds of apricots.   My years in Lillooet, the apricot capital of Canada, has left me hating apricots that are not picked ripe off of the tree.

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