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Candystripe fig growers in California see great demand
Fig growers in California were pleased with the season that recently concluded, with most growers selling out amidst good demand. Capay Organic grow organic Mission and Candystripe figs on their farms in California. Thaddeus Barsotti, of Capay Organic, said that their Candystripe figs enjoyed favorable conditions and harvested well.
"Our Candystripe season lasted from the middle of August for about 4 weeks," he said. "Unlike the Mission figs, which have two seasons every year (one from the old wood of last year's crop, and one from the new growth), Candystripe figs only have the one season. The heat made growing conditions favorable and we enjoyed a good, average crop that yielded excellent fruit quality."
Candystripe take a little extra care
Fig trees are generally unproblematic in the way they need care. A fairly good resistance to weather conditions as well as diseases ensure growers often yield a healthy crop. Candystripe require a little extra care when compared with the Mission varieties, due to their sensitive ripening characteristics.
Photo of the Barnes-Barsotti family. Three brothers together run the farm.
"Fig trees are quite sturdy and stand up well to different weather conditions," continued Barsotti. "They are also not very susceptible to disease so in terms of organic, they are one of the easier crops to grow. One of the aspects where organic farmers are faced with difficulty is how to control rodents, so they don't cause damage to the trees. We have to manage that more carefully than conventional growers."
"A more general facet that requires attention is that Candystripe figs are sensitive as to when they're harvested because they don't ripen any more once they're off the tree," he added. "We also cannot pick them too late, otherwise they won't make it to the customer. So you have to pick them at just the right time, to make sure they are at their sweetest, while allowing sufficient time for shipping."
Strong market for growers
Consumers continue to savor figs when they're in season and growers tend to enjoy a favorable market for them right up until they sell out. Candystripe figs on average, attract a higher price than the Mission varieties, due to the added care and attention that goes into them.
"There is a 25% premium on Candystripe figs over Mission Figs due to the fact they are a little more labor intensive and overall yields are not as high," noted Barsotti. "However, we manage to sell out all our stock every year because customers like the taste and as a result, growers enjoy good pricing and a steady market."
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