Black Fig Fruit Fly redux

As Sagi pointed out at today’s meeting, many fig growing areas around the world continue to be able to  harvest crops despite the fact that this fly has been there for decades.  The appearance of BFFF here is not a cause for total despair but it is definitely a reason to be vigilant in inspecting your figs, collecting and dissecting any that drop prematurely, safely disposing of any that are infested (NOT in compost or yard waste) and being very wary of accepting figs or potted fig plants from unknown sources.

If you do find larvae  in your figs, please contact the CFDA. 

If you don’t have them yet but are concerned, join the ourfigs. com forum for up to date discussions and advice.

A webpage that discusses different home brew lure recipes and a home-made trap is here.    BTW, a 5mm hole in the US basically requires a 7/32nd drill bit.

I have just ordered 100 1.5 ml propylene test tubes if anyone wants some to try experimenting with lures.  I also have some hexanol but thus far am not seeing any results with it.

Good luck!

Field Trip to Mark Steele’s orchard July 10th @ 10 am

Most of us know Mark Steele as the extremely knowledgeable banana expert who has generously shared with us (at both LA and WLA chapter meetings) his vast experience with the AAA and BBB genome groups (and everything in between).

He is also, however, a self-proclaimed Fig Nerd… as witnessed by his co-hosting a major sale of exotic fig plants this past fall.   And now we have a rare chance to see both his banana plants and fig tree, as well as citrus, stone fruit, cherimoya, and other fruits he grows.

When not in his garden or chasing his 4-year-old son, Mark is a Professor of Biology at California State University Northridge.

On Saturday, July 10th, he will be taking us on a tour of his yard and discussing the ups and downs of fruit cultivation.   While most of us will be tuning in via Zoom, he says he can handle up to  5 warm immunized bodies, so if you would like to attend in person, please let us know.  This may well be your once in a lifetime opportunity to head home with some of Mark’s special plants, so attendance will have to be on a first-come, first served basis.

Zoom links, etc will be in  members’ forthcoming newsletter.  Mark’s address will only be provided to those who  make the 5 body cut -off.  PLEASE do  not claim a spot unless you are 100% you can attend.

Photo by Martin Angelov on Unsplash

Warning: New Fig Pest in California!

Black Fig Fly

This PSA came from member Alan Caramatti.   Eric Durtschi, who is referenced in the post, gave a memorable talk to our chapter on Cacao a few months ago.  He is also an extremely avid fig grower.

“Just in the past week or so several people in SoCal have discovered a horrible new pest in figs in their orchards.  Please see info in this thread on the OurFigs forum, which Eric Durtschi posted:
This is something all CRFG-ers need to be vigilant about.”

Talk by Fritz Maslan, Saturday June 12th @ 10 am

The National Park Service is resurrecting historic orchards. And Fritz Maslan is going to tell us all about it

The orchards of the Fruita Rural Historic District (in the Capitol Reef National Park, South Utah)  are one of the largest ongoing cultivated orchards in the national park system and remain an important part of the region’s rich history and cultural heritage. The orchards were planted by early pioneers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, beginning in the 1880s,  and currently contain approximately 2,000 fruit trees including numerous heirloom varieties.

Fritz Maslan is the  Horticulturist at Capitol Reef and is intimately involved in this long term orchard  restoration project which will begin with the Guy Smith and Cook orchards and – building  on what is learned there – will ultimately involve the other  17 orchards within the park.  He has his work cut out for him, however, since over the past fifty years, the  orchards have lost almost 1,000 trees and with continued losses expected due to age, disease and nutrient deficiencies, the improvement of  the land  along with replanting is needed to maintain orchard historic integrity.

While we, of course, are interested in how and what will be planted in Fruita, Fritz is also interested in what he can learn from us about growing difficult fruit trees.  While this is not one of our normal single-plant-centric talks, it is sure to be fascinating.  Don’t miss it!

Members will receive a Zoom link in their newsletter.  If you are interested in joining us, please contact us at


Cacao tree auction – rethunk

Okay, out of deference to Lewis who will be instructing us in the arcane art of growing and processing coffee in the comfort of our own backyards and homes, we have decided to move the Cacao Tree auction to the end of the our Saturday meeting, after his lecture and all the Qs and As.

As a result, this will be a Live Auction, with — to minimize confusion — one tree being auctioned at a time. At this point (obviously this is an ongoing, seat of the pants work-in-progress and could change entirely by Saturday) I think that once the auction has begun, bids most efficiently can be sent to your humble chair via the Chat function or by Hand Raising for a specific bid, like “I have a bid of $10. Do I hear $11?” (Do any chapter members have experience as auctioneers?) Once Tree #1 is sold, we will move on to Tree #2, etc. until all six trees are sold. I will invoice the winners with PayPal and trees can be picked up at the same location as last year’s plant sale and this year’s scion exchange.

If anyone has a better idea for how we should do this, please let us know!

Silent Auction for Cacao Trees Saturday, May 8th

The half dozen cacao trees kindly donated to us by Eric Durtschi after his Chocolate talk two months ago — and then carefully nursed to robust health by our own Bruce Blavin — will be sold at a silent auction during our Zoom meeting this Saturday. Since we have never run a Silent Auction on Zoom, your guess is as good as mine as to how (and if) this will work. But I imagine we can use Chat to enter bids (to Everyone!), starting at $10 with $1 increments. Since the trees are essentially identical, the top 6 bidders will win. One tree per person unless there are less than six interested parties.

I will invoice the winners. Bruce will drop them at my place (I hope) and you can pick them up there, unless you are closer to Bruce in Malibu, in which case you could fetch them all for us and save Bruce the trip.

Please note that trees much smaller than these regularly sell for $50 on Etsy. So support your chapter (and your chocolate addiction!) by bidding generously.

Coffee! Saturday May 8th at 10 am

Speaker: Lewis Perkins

Coffee is the first sine qua non for many people’s day. What will global warming/climate change do to our elixir? The Economist April 24, 2021 edition reveals a rediscovered Coffea Stenophylla, from the lowland hills of Sierra Leone (also Guinea & Ivory Coast) and written in the 1834 papers of Scottish botanist George Don, which tolerates a higher temperature range of 24-26 C.

Lewis and Tera actually have had coffee made from 3.5 pounds of wet beans grown from a Kona and Java plant in the shade of a reed fence in Santa Monica. Groundwork Coffee Company was kind enough to use an antique sample roaster to make them enough for one pot of light and medium roast brew. Lewis notes that there is a lot of manual labor to remove the cascara by hand and teeth! He also says that good coffee is underpriced by a lot!

Less work and quite tasty is eating the ripe red anti-oxidant fruit before the birds get them. Even if you don’t like brewed coffee, you would likely like the berries.

If you love coffee, this is your chance to learn how to grow your own!

Members should have received their Zoom links by now.

Photos by Pablo Merchán Montes and Rodrigo Flores on Unsplash