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The Early Breba Figs

Figs are not really ripe until later in the Summer.

Unless, that is, unless you do as the Mallorcans do and leave part of last year’s branches unpruned. In that case, the fig tree (Ficus carica) will in June or July produce an early harvest of a fig called breba which is growing on last year’s shoot or branch. The same tree will then continue to produce a second harvest of the main fig crop which grows on this year’s shoot growth, ripening in late summer or early autumn. The latter crop is generally considered superior in both quantity and quality to the breba fig, but I’ve had some excellent first growth figs, or rather brebas, here on the island, too.

The subject of Mallorcan figs is an interesting one. The fig was historically a rather prominent agricultural product, especially in its dried shape and form. Apparently, there are some 175 different types of figs known on the island. I have seen a book once edited in Catalan and listing dozens of figs in detailed description. Nowadays, for some reason figs are much less valued, and their harvest has taken a sharp decline here. The farmers that I know do not bother to harvest their figs any longer, other than by the bucket full for the feeding of their pigs.

The pueblo of Lloret de Vistalegre in the centre of the island each year celebrates the Festa des Sequer at the beginning of September, in case you wanted to find out more about brebas, figs and other aphrodisiacs.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 2nd, 2010. The time was 10:31:27.

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