A fixation with figs

Jackie Renzetti

This Saturday, September 13th, the Bell Museum of Natural History invites visitors to check out their rainforest exhibit with their event “Saturday with a Scientist: Life Under the Canopy and Fantastic Figs!” The curator of the rainforest exhibit and University of Minnesota plant biology professor, George Weiblen, will be there to speak about his experience spending 20 years studying and cataloguing life in New Guinea. Along with Weiblen will be Bega Inaho, who is from New Guinea and now studies conservation biology at the University of Minnesota. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and is free with museum admission.


As Epictetus said, “No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.”


As we wait for the school week to go by, let’s take some time to consider figs in honor of this event.


Now, I’m not talking about this pruny excuse for a snack — I’m talking about the real deal. I can’t recall a time in my life that I’ve tried a fresh fig, which probably has to do with the fact that they are relatively rare in grocery stores due to their delicate nature. They don’t ripen after being picked and don’t last long off the branch. Their easy expiration makes them a poor candidate for shipping, so it seems that folks up north may get shorted in the grocery stores. Growing your own tree, however, is an option.


Since we suffer from a lack of fresh figs, the closest we can get to the fruit is through the internet.  I’ll leave you with some of the best fig-inspired works I could find.


To fill your fig fancy, consider:


1) One of these 27 recipes designed for figs, if you ever find any.


2) This sweet short film.


3) This folksy band.


4) “First Fig” by Edna St. Vincent Millay


5) Fun facts, courtesy of Orchard Choice California Figs