Fresno and figs have a long history together. Nearly 100 years ago, real estate developer J.C. Forkner purchased thousands of acres of hardpan soil miles north of the city of Fresno.
He eventually planted around 600,000 fig trees, with plans to sell the land and trees to small farmers. His operation was so large that his massive order for Fordson tractors prompted Henry Ford himself to travel west and see exactly what was happening in the area known as Fig Garden, now one of Fresno's historic neighborhoods.
While most of Forkner's fig trees are long gone, the neighborhood is coming full circle this weekend with an event called Fig Fest. Whole Foods in Fresno's Fig Garden Village will host the event, which features fig-themed samples from some of the valley's top restaurants and wineries. Attendees can also purchase their own fig trees at the event, and learn new recipes for one of the valley's signature crops.
To learn more about Fig Fest 2014, Valley Edition talked with Karla Stockli, CEO of the California Fig Advisory Board.