Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Loving Figs from Maywood Farms

By Nick Moless, August 18, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Nick Moless

Nick Moless has been a team member for our global produce procurement office since 2001. He has purchased several commodities for Whole Foods Market including berries, hard fruit and row crop vegetables. Nick's favorite fruit is the Adriatic fig. Figs One of the fruits I look forward to all summer long is the fig. The fig season is broken up into two parts. The first small peak, known as the breba crop, occurs in May. This fruit really just serves to whet our appetites until the second peak, which occurs in early August. The "fig" crop, as it is known, brings with it the largest volumes, greatest varietal selection and the best tasting fruit of the year. Maywood Farms, which is owned and operated by the Steinacher family, is a grower we love at Whole Foods Market. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to visit this farm in Corning, California, and I learned all about their story. FigsFig harvesting at Maywood Farms The hot dry summers and mild winters of the Northern Sacramento Valley are the ideal climate for fig production. Bob and Karen Steinacher manage the farm; Bob handling the growing, sales and shipping while Karen takes care of the picking and packing. Karen and Bob SteinacherKaren and Bob Steinacher Bob's journey into farming was definitely not via the traditional route. Originally from the Silicon Valley in a non-farming family, Bob initially studied entomology at UC-Davis. Then he enrolled in courses in production agriculture and became hooked on farming. After college, Bob ran a small scale operation before purchasing a 265-acre parcel of land that is now Maywood Farms. At first, Bob planned on growing figs to be dried. His first crop was too small to mechanically harvest for the processors, so Bob handpicked and packed the product fresh. He sold them on the San Francisco terminal market, and the reception was so good that Bob made the decision to focus on the fresh market instead. In 1990, Bob had 25 of his acres certified organic by CCOF and Maywood grew their first organic crop. Now, 172.5 acres are certified organic and are the focus of this family farm. The Steinachers also utilize solar and wind power to fuel the operation. FigsOrganic Black Mission Figs To me, the really fascinating part of the later fig season is all of the unique variety. In addition to the well-known Black Mission Figs, Maywood also grows several other fantastic varieties. Some of my favorites include:

  • Brown Turkey - large in size with a rich copper color. Not quite as sweet as the Black Mission, but still a great eating fig.
  • Kadota - thick creamy amber colored skin. Very few seeds and a sweet honey flavor.
  • Adriatic - my personal favorite - green skin and bright magenta interior. They are affectionately referred to as "jellybags" because the flesh tastes like raspberry jam. They are extremely delicate, so unfortunately these cannot be shipped too far from the source.

Maywood Farm's commitment to organics makes them a grower we love, and the remarkable flavor of their figs make them a product we love. Make sure to grab some from your local Whole Foods Market before the all-too-short season comes to an end!

Category: Food & Recipes, Local

 

15 Comments

Comments

molessn says ...
Hello, Barbara, I believe your tree is an Adriatic, or something similar. Adriatic figs also originated in Italy. As far as the smaller, unripe figs go – this is most likely a function of weather. Figs need a streak of warm, sunny days to mature. I am not sure how this summer’s weather in New Jersey has compared to a typical year, but I would guess it has been more cold, cloudy, or rainy. Nick
08/25/2009 6:01:43 PM CDT
Barbara Mazzatenta says ...
I have a couple of fig trees that happen to be able to survive the winter here in New Jersey. Extremely hardy thousands of figs this year. These are the type that grow pale green figs with dark watermelon colored centers. Very sweet. My husbands grandmother brought them here from Italy. When she passed away I dug up one, from that I have grown 4 other new fig trees in big flower pots. I don't know the variety, but am wondering why the figs are smaller this year. I have thousands of figs but they seem smaller and are taking way to long to ripen. They are still small and hard. I usually get them around End of August. They don't appear to be ready this year. What makes them small. They have had plenty of water, and rain. I am wondering if there is just not enough sun in the location where I planted it. The leaves look fabulous and healthy. I never spray it or fertilize it. Completely organic. No bugs, or funguses etc. Just small fruit. Maybe they will still grow just later this year?? Any ideas what it could be
08/24/2009 7:12:46 PM CDT
parkerj says ...
My great aunt in Mississippi had these giant fig trees in her back yard- growing up as a kid we would visit her every summer and holiday and she would always send us home with these giant jars of fig preserves. I wouldn't eat them as a kid but when I grew older I fell in love- I never learned how she made them so the last jar was a sad goodbye indeed. My favorite variety is called candy stripe- it's similar to the Adriatic but slightly smaller. love figs
08/24/2009 5:28:31 PM CDT
gloria says ...
I completely support Whole Foods and may plan a trip to New Orleans, just to buy products from Whole Foods. The boycott is outrageous.
08/21/2009 9:20:07 PM CDT
Tessa says ...
I love figs. My grandfather planted a fig tree for me when I was a little girl, and I remember when it was grown and ripe, never having tasted something so satisfying. Thanks for sharing your pictures. I actually work with a program called Chef's Diet, and we encourage a healthy, well balanced dietary plan. We create meals daily, utilizing fresh produce and meats, and deliver them straight to your door. If you're interested in knowing more, visit http://www.mychefsdiet.com :)
08/21/2009 2:15:12 AM CDT
Jessica says ...
Gina, definitely get yourself some fresh figs, they are FABULOUS! Once you have them fresh, you'll be hard-pressed to go back to dried. :)
08/21/2009 3:17:09 PM CDT
Olive Moredock says ...
I bought the most amazing Calmyrna figs at WF Santa Cruz this weekend. They were so sweet that they were oozing syrup out of the base of the stem origin. Nice buy!
08/18/2009 2:12:44 PM CDT
Evan says ...
I got 2 pints of figs this week from Whole Foods and they were all delicious
08/18/2009 7:04:35 PM CDT
gina says ...
I LOVE figs, and I almost bought some today. I am so mad I didn't, now that I see these tantalizing pictures. I have only had dry figs, I should try them nice and fresh.
08/18/2009 8:48:50 PM CDT
Ying Yan says ...
I love all the local Produce especially organic fruits, jams and nuts. I can trust that their qualities. I am so glad that I can find them easily near home.
10/13/2011 10:57:14 AM CDT
AJ says ...
Hello, do you ship your figs to stores/wholesalers in AZ, if so what locations? Thanks AJ
12/02/2012 11:43:34 PM CST
karen says ...
I would love to try them.
04/09/2013 12:02:43 PM CDT
Nancy says ...
I also love figs and I had never found them as good as I had them in the South of France until Whole Foods. I do use dry figs to sweeten my Smoothies instead of sugar or honey. I read about this someplace and I figure it was healthier than sugar, and it taste great, just sweet enough.
05/17/2013 5:55:08 PM CDT
Jing Lee says ...
We are urgently looking for Organic Dried Black Mission Figs. Would you please advise: 1. Wholesale Price 2. Shelf Life 3. Exporting MOQ 4. Delivery Lead Time. Look forward to your reply soonest. Thanks! Best Regards, Jing
07/23/2014 11:45:58 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JING - Since we are a retailer, we do not sell at whole sale. You might want to reach out to Maywood Farms directly to see if they can help.
07/23/2014 1:17:03 PM CDT