California Fig Shipments Expected Similar to Last Season

California Fig Shipments Expected Similar to Last Season

Steady California fig shipments started in July following relative light movement in May and June.

Last year, the state shipped between 10 million to 12 million pounds of fresh figs. Overall, about 27 million pounds of fresh and dried figs were shipped. Volume for the 2020 season should be similar to last year.

All of the U.S. dried figs and 98 percent of the fresh figs are grown commercially in California.

The state has over 100 fig producers who grow on 9,300 acres, mostly in and around Madera, Fresno and Merced in Central California.

Several varieties of figs are grown in the state.

The most common are black mission, available from mid-May to November; kadota, late June to October; brown turkey, early June to November; and calimyrna, July to September.

Sierra, a newer variety with a light-colored skin and a sweet Riesling flavor, almost has replaced the calimyrna.

About 60 percent of the state’s figs are dried, with the remainder being fresh.

The Specialty Crop Co. of Madera, CA farms half of the state’s fresh and dried figs and grows just about every variety.

The company started its main crop with the brown turkey variety in mid July.

Black mission will follow, then the sierra will come on. The last variety will be a relatively new one called the tiger fig, available from mid-August until Oct. 1.

About one-third of the company’s figs are sold as fresh, the rest are dried.

Western Fresh Marketing Services Inc. of Madera grows only fresh-market figs.

The company has the southernmost field in California in the Coachella Valley, where it shipped the brown turkey variety until mid-July. 

The firm returns to the Coachella Valley in September and picks until Christmas — the latest season for fresh figs.