Christina Dostie examines the last figs of the season picked from her Italian fig tree, seen to the left in background. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)
By JIM WILLIS
A recent tweet from Tom Labetti over on Elm Place alerted us to the possibility of a profusion of figs in the Red Bank area.
With senses on high alert for neighbors who might be willing to part with some of their figgy bounty, we came across Christina Dostie over on Mori Place, who is picking some of the last figs of the season off the tree in her backyard.
It turns out her tree is no ordinary black bucket special from Lowe’s, either.
“This tree was a birthday gift from my mother and my sister,” she tells PieHole. They got it from “an Italian guy in Manalapan who grafts them from fig trees from Italy, and they’re sweet as pie.”
“This was an amazing season,” says Dostie. “I stayed up to speed and picked them every day before the ants or bees got to them. I’ve had bowls after bowls.”
Dostie says her and her kids eat them out of hand, but adds that they’re especially good with goat cheese, bacon and walnuts.
Fig trees do particularly well in our area, says Dostie.
“My neighbor Melissa [Bartolone] has one, and my brother over on Maple Avenue has one, and they do really well here because you don’t have to cover them in the winter time.”
And, yes, both the Labettis and the Dosties shared their harvest with us. We enjoyed them sliced in half with a bit of honey, salt and goat cheese.
Who else around here grows figs? We’d like to hear your secrets to successful fig farming.