One farmer reminds consumers to 'eat a fig' as the crop is ready to harvest

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's that time of year when Paul Mesple reminds people to "eat a fig."

Mesple is a third-generation fig farmer who operates a fruit stand at Millbrook and Alluvial in northwest Fresno.

The wet spring hurt some Valley crops but not the figs. Paul started picking a week ago.

"You wait all year, and then for about three months, you do your harvesting," he said. "Your hopes are up for a good year, and it looks real good right now. The rains we had I think we're actually helpful for us."

Mesple sells four fig varieties as well as dried figs.

Consumers may have grown up on fig newtons, but the fig industry has continued to make inroads with chefs seeking new tastes and textures.

"It's really become I think kind of the "in" ingredient in a lot of things now," Mesple said. "Figs are the new exotic the last few years and it's great . People love to try them and a lot of people grew up with figs."

From Fresno to Madera and Merced, loaded up fig trees are ready for harvest.

Mesple figures the figs grow over 7,000 acres around the Valley. That translates into about 6 million pounds of fresh figs and over 8,000 tons of dried fig products.

Should the fresh fig market tail off, growers do have the option of waiting and then selling their crop as dried figs.
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