Backyard Bounty all-Tasmanian Vegie box: 20th March

Whilst fruit is abundant during the summer, there are a range of fruits that grow all year or prefer colder months, although these – with the exception of citrus – tend to be less commonly cultivated on a commercial basis. Figs – which are a fruit in culinary terms but are technically an inside-out flower – are a good example of this; Frankham Figs in Dulcot, is the only commercial fig orchard in Tasmania. Figs produce two crops of fruit each year – the breba crop, a smaller quantity of larger fruit, is ready in spring or early summer, but the main, sweetest crop comes in autumn, and it’s not uncommon for a fig tree to be bearing fruit even when the leaves have fallen. The earliest evidence of humans growing figs for fruit is in the Jordan Valley from over 10,000 years ago, which makes it probably the earliest example of human agriculture, predating the cultivation of grains. Whilst figs can, and do, grow in a range of locations around the world, the vast majority of production of figs still centres around the Mediterranean and middle east, especially Turkey; as figs do not store or transport well, these warmer, drier countries have the advantage of not only being able to grow figs, but also to harness the sun to preserve the fruit by drying. Figs are best stored in the fridge and eaten as soon as possible, just like berries – when they’re as delicious as the ones in this week’s box I suspect that won’t be a challenge!