“You might want to go check that fig tree back by the barn,” my dad told me yesterday. “I looked at it this morning, and there weren’t too many, but I did see a few.”

So I did — and brought home about 10 pounds of luscious ripe figs in a sack. You see a few of them in the photo above. The thing is, he was right: his big fig tree didn’t have many on it, relative to how many it’s going to have over the next couple of weeks, when it really starts producing. Last year I picked between seven and fourteen pounds per day off that one tree during their peak of ripeness. The fig tree in our backyard has been giving us figs for the past two weeks at least, earlier than anybody else’s. Julie thinks it’s because she mulched the tree, but someone in the family from who we rent the house said that tree has the reputation for being the best fig tree in town.

It makes me deeply happy to think that just outside my kitchen door is the best fig tree in St. Francisville. Actually, anything related to figs makes me deeply happy. Julie has the canning operation up and going. She makes this fig chutney that’s out of this world. The other day, she had a bag of fresh-picked figs from our backyard, and invented a fig upside-down cake that was terrific. Figs! Figs, figs, figs, figs, figs! I don’t have much good to say about summer in the South, but tomatoes and figs almost make it worth the sweat.