figs on leaves

History of Figs

Figs are one of the earliest fruits cultivated by man. Native to areas from Asiatic Turkey to Northern India, figs spread to all the countries around the Mediterranean. Today, the United States, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Spain are the primary producing nations of dried figs.

Worldwide, there are thought to be more than 1,600 varieties of figs. The benefits of dried figs and their flavor make them a favorite food and pivotal ingredient in many cultures. In California, two principle varieties of figs are grown: amber-colored Golden Figs and dark purple Mission Figs. The Golden and Mission dried figs are the most prevalent varieties in the whole fig market and represent over two-thirds of the California fig production.

The Spaniards brought figs to the Americas in the early 1500’s. Figs made their way to California through the missionary fathers who planted them from San Diego to Sonoma. The “Mission Fig” takes its name from this history.

The beginnings of the Golden fig began in 1882 when a San Joaquin Valley grower brought Smyna Figs from Turkey into the Golden State. California’s commercial fig growing efforts started in 1885.