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The Figs Are Here

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year for fig lovers. The only way the heat of July can be redeemed in the Deep South is by the figs. I picked the first ripe ones of the season yesterday at my dad’s massive tree:

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I’m not sure that photo gives you an adequate sense of the size of this tree. It’s at least 20 feet tall, but I’d say closer to 25. I was shocked to discover that at some point very recently, the right half of the tree fell, splitting from the left half. But it is not dead; it’s still rooted in the ground, and producing figs. It needs care, though.

“There are just a few figs on the tree,” said my dad. “It’s early yet. You might get a few.”

He was right; it was a light, early-season day at that tree — but given its massive size, I brought home at least six pounds of fresh-picked, succulent lovelies, and at some for dessert last night, and for breakfast this morning.

Unfortunately, the figs couldn’t have come at a worse time for us. We’re packing up to move next week, out to the country south of town. Canning is not much of an option this year. But I can’t let those figs go to waste. I just can’t, and I won’t. Must think about this…

Standing under the giant fig tree’s canopy this afternoon, I was surrounded by the deep, rich perfume of ripening figs, and the sweet green scent of fig leaves. If you are from the South, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The first fig tree I ever saw was at my late grandmother’s house. She would go out in the morning during fig season with a colander in hand, trailing little me and little Ruthie, who was just learning how to walk. The aroma of fresh figs and fig trees is the aroma of Nana, which is to say, the aroma of home and comfort and every good thing.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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