Red Lebanese Bekaa Fig

Red Lebanese Bekaa Valley Fig

Graft, Source cutting from katerina, Jan 2016 (DIED)
Trees/grafts, source cuttings from harveyc / figaholics, Jan 2018

Observations based on Chandler, AZ Growing conditions:

Breba Crop: No
Main Crop: 1-2
Vigor: low-med vigor
Production: low-med productivity

This ... is ... my .... *favorite* .... fig

Because this is my favorite fig, and because I had to track it down again, please be prepared for a small saga.

I first got the cutting from katerina (ebay) because I heard nothing but good things about this fig on the Figs4Fun forum. I got the cuttings and tried rooting one and grafting the other one. I never got it to root, but the graft that I did on my Black Mission took. The scion was not incredibly vigorous but did produce a few figs for me in the summer of 2016 ... and they blew me away.

The fig is very small, size of a quarter. The flavor is outstanding!! Definitely had dark berry notes to it, much like a VdB. It was very sweet, but also had a lot of acid. The sweet / acid balance is very pleasing and added a lot of complexity to the flavor. The sweet-tart component kept making my taste buds really think about the flavor and wanting more of it. And even though it is uncaprified it has a very pronounced seed crunch that added a nutty component to the taste. The eye was extremely small and looks closed to me.

Red Lebanese Bekaa figs from July 2016

... But like I said, this was a saga. And all sagas must have a climactic downturn.

The Black Mission this was grafted onto was in a spot in my yard where I really wanted a mango tree planted. Yes, I was the one who planted it in the wrong spot to begin with. But I have transplanted figs many time, and they (almost) always transplant very well. I transplanted the tree in Oct as things were cooling down (relatively speaking) for AZ. The nights were finally getting cool. I dug up the tree and cut back all the branches, and planted it in its new spot. About two weeks later we got another hot spell with really warm nights and everything started flushing again. Including my newly transplanted fig. Which no longer had that root system to support the growth flush. If I had waited until Nov / Dec to do the transplanting the tree would be fine.

So I give it a year hoping for a miracle. I scratched the bark and it was still green. In the spring of 2017, the tree broke dormancy and flushed. But you could tell it was not happy. New growth was not vigorous and was easily sunburned. It limped along for months. But by June, the tree was officially dead. (R.I.P my fine figgy friend).

Nov 2017 I messaged Katerina to see if she would be selling any more of her cuttings this winter. She had bad news, her tree had died during the summer! I asked her if she remembered where she got her original tree / cuttings from. She was very generous and let me know that her tree came directly from Marius (the famous fig collector).

Now armed with this info I emailed Harvey who has Red Lebanese Bekaa in his orchard. However there are a few different 'Red Lebanese / Red Lebanese Bekaa / Lebanese Red' figs floating around. And I wanted to try to find the Marius strain. I emailed to ask him if his source was the Marius version. And he was also very generous and let me know that indeed it was!!

So this winter/spring I was sure to include plenty of Red Lebanese Bekaa in my cutting order from figaholics :) I have rooted a couple of cuttings and did three grafts to make sure I am never without this fig again.

.... and the saga continues .... :)

Apr 2018: RLB chip bud / bud graft onto Beer's Black (vigorous rootstock)

Apr 2018: RLB chip bud / bud graft onto Diana (exceptionally vigorous rootstock)

Apr 2018: One of a few rooted RLB cuttings