The Fig Thief
I’ve been stealing figs off of neighborhood trees lately. I can’t help it: they’re so perfectly ripe and I know if I don’t eat it, a bird will. The tree owners just can’t pick them fast enough.
For a few months now, I’ve been scoping out the scene of my crimes: a gorgeous Black Mission Fig tree just a block and a half away from my apartment. I’ve been greeting the tree and figs every weekend, watching as they have grown and darkened and called to be picked.
I sent a handwritten letter in the mail addressed to “The Owners of the Beautiful Fig Tree”, hoping to buy some from the couple that lived in the house with the sweet porch. Majorie called me and apologized — they have so many friends who want figs, they simply couldn’t give me any, but (she did say this) I was welcome to try one when I passed yet.
So technically, I may not be stealing at all. But I like to think I am: stealing a moment, stealing a taste, stealing a little miracle (because figs are precisely that).
Today, for the first time, I noticed the fig tree directly across the street from my apartment building. I’m not sure how I’d missed it for so long, except that I never come and go on that side of the street. I paused to inspect the growing figs and began plotting my 4:50am raids (always just one, always the ripest that would waste if it weren’t for me).
It looks like I’m becoming a serial fig thief.
If I still lived in California where figs are plentiful, or in New Jersey across the street from the generous neighbor with fig trees (he has since moved), these are some recipes I would make:
What would you do with an abundance of figs? (Please feel free to link me up to some recipes.)