Author Topic: Unknowns: Heirloom vs Commercially Distributed Figs  (Read 258 times)

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Offline Andrea

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Unknowns: Heirloom vs Commercially Distributed Figs
« on: November 03, 2022, 10:58:20 AM »
Looking for input on an idea that we've been kicking around in our fig study. 

We selected 15 varieties of figs based on cold hardiness and a wide variety of types (flavor-berry, honey, sugar, etc.; origin-Italian, Greek, LSU, etc.; color-yellow, green, brown, purple/black; etc.) and sources (commercially traded vs locally found).

About half of our figs are "Unknowns". But as we continue to trace the history of them, we're realizing that some of our Unknowns probably originated in the commercial trade.  For example, the figs found along SW A Street were planted as part of a community garden that is no longer there.  During a random encounter with another fig enthusiast on A Street (who was also there looking for ripe figs!), we learned that these fig plants came from the nursery a block away. Which means that they likely aren't heirloom (brought over by immigrants from the family garden in a faraway land), but rather commercially traded fig varieties whose names have been lost (yes, we've asked at the nursery, no good answer yet).

So as we discuss the Unknown figs, we've considered tacking on the suffix -H or -C to indicate whether we believe it's an Heirloom variety or a Commercial variety.  The "A Street" figs were likely commercially traded, so our "A Street Strawberry Unk" would be "A Street Strawberry Unk-C".  One main reason for this is to let people know that this particular fig is likely not a new variety. Ultimately, we hope that we will be able to positively identify all of the Unknown figs in the study.  But for now, we're just looking to be clear and transparent about what we believe them to be.

Is this just muddying the waters and making things complicated?  Or is there any value in discerning between "likely commercially traded" and "likely heirloom"?

Wish List: The best tasting, cold-hardy, highly productive, non-wasp variety - whether I can pronounce it or not - and another 5 acres to plant figs on.

Offline opiem10

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Re: Unknowns: Heirloom vs Commercially Distributed Figs
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2022, 11:46:50 AM »
Hi Andrea,
     I am not sure if there is much value in adding another tag to an Unknown.   Just identifying the tree as an unknown with a location, such as "A Street", along with the flavor profile should be enough.   Adding commercial or heirloom is only a guess and may complicate matters for anyone acquiring or trading such a variety.  Unless the mother tree is really old and has been growing in an ethnic (Greek, Italian, Cajun) neighborhood and with some story about the tree being traced back to Europe or the Mideast, I wouldn't even think about the tree being labeled as heirloom.  Just my 2 cents.

     For example, I purchased cuttings of a tree growing on a college campus in NC.   It is simply identified as Oak St Unknown.   
Wish List: Col de Dam Gegantina, Corky's Honey Delight, Exquisito, St. Martin, Thermalito

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Re: Unknowns: Heirloom vs Commercially Distributed Figs
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2022, 08:45:33 PM »
Andrea,

I am so excited to read about your study. Thanks for sharing your progress and the questions that emerge as you continue to gather information.
Wish List: Tashkent; Imp. Celeste; Nixon Peace; I-258, Texas Peach, LSU O'Rourke, Thibodeaux, Scott's Yellow; heirloom varieties- Ocracoke Is, unknowns; Other: World's Best Mulberry

Offline jtrav

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Re: Unknowns: Heirloom vs Commercially Distributed Figs
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2022, 10:06:37 AM »
I think the commercial / heirloom tag is worth documenting but I don't think it needs to be on the label.
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Offline Andrea

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Re: Unknowns: Heirloom vs Commercially Distributed Figs
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2022, 11:48:25 AM »
Thanks John and Jake for weighing in on the Heirloom vs Commercial tag.  I am not advocating for it, but the topic came up for discussion at one of our meetings and I thought I'd toss it out to a broader audience for opinions.  We'll definitely document the origins of these particular figs in the study as best we can, but I won't be using or promoting the -C or -H suffix. Thanks again.

Cold weather has set in so hopefully we'll get some data organized and added to a web page so everyone can take a look, advise, or ask questions.
Wish List: The best tasting, cold-hardy, highly productive, non-wasp variety - whether I can pronounce it or not - and another 5 acres to plant figs on.

Offline AtlantaFig

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Re: Unknowns: Heirloom vs Commercially Distributed Figs
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2022, 12:50:16 PM »
Andrea, another thing you can do is to get the DNA of the figs and compare it with the DNA of figs in Fig database and you may find the names of those unknown figs.
Wishlist: Figoin, Socorro Black, CDD Blanc, St. Rita, Black Madeira dwarf, Louisiana Fig Varieties, Louisiana Lightening, Buzzone Nero, LSU Strawberry, BNR, Giant Brown Turkey, Mutant Fig, White Lebanese.

Offline Andrea

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Re: Unknowns: Heirloom vs Commercially Distributed Figs
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2022, 02:54:35 PM »
Quote
get the DNA of the figs and compare it with the DNA of figs in Fig database

Ben, do you have any more information about how or where to get the DNA of the Unknown figs?  I've been looking for a service that will do it, but I have not found one.  Well, I found one who would analyze the DNA of the figs, but they did not have a fig panel against which to compare it, so that's not very helpful.  Any recommendations on who might do that?
Wish List: The best tasting, cold-hardy, highly productive, non-wasp variety - whether I can pronounce it or not - and another 5 acres to plant figs on.

Offline AtlantaFig

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Re: Unknowns: Heirloom vs Commercially Distributed Figs
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2022, 07:20:51 PM »
Andrea, I think JD knows where to get the DNA of figs.
Wishlist: Figoin, Socorro Black, CDD Blanc, St. Rita, Black Madeira dwarf, Louisiana Fig Varieties, Louisiana Lightening, Buzzone Nero, LSU Strawberry, BNR, Giant Brown Turkey, Mutant Fig, White Lebanese.

Offline Islander

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Re: Unknowns: Heirloom vs Commercially Distributed Figs
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2022, 10:31:44 AM »
Hi all,
Interesting concept. I like the idea, not sure it clears up much for unknowns in general , tho.
I agree that heirlooms should be documented, and from areas that would make it probable from import from a home garden in another country-neighborhoods where immigrants lived here.
I have a local unknown , but know it was a commercial one planted. Itís either a Black Mission? brown Turkey, or Celeste. It was my first rooted cutting. I labeled by street, and know it was bought by owner who canít remember the type , and there is a tiny language barrier as well. Itís not from a community of immigrants who could have brought it over.  How wonderful to find those!!!
DNA would be great to do, if possible. I am sure do many out there are the same , just with different names. Iíve heard of fig found by a few people , same plant, same area, each call it something different. Very confusing for us newbies.
There are so many types out there, that I embarrass myself at fig events! I donít  know what I donít  know! I was given a few at the fig event that Iíve never heard of! Iím excited to see them produce!
I think I got 2 new rooted ones, and cuttings of another - donít think any of those survived, the cuttings.
A lot of confusion on figs that are probably the same , different names. Keep up the research!
Growing: BT x2 , Black Mission, LSU Gold, Patsyís Pride, CH, Petite Negra, Olympian, Unk , CdDN , unk LSU purple?, YLN
Wish:  prolific figs. Smith, RdB, I-258, Strawberry Verte, Little Miss Figgy.  Berry figs, closed eye- basically anything