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DEAR FRIENDS,AS A RESULT OF MY SEARCH ON THE ORIGINS OF FIG "HARDY CHICAGO" (THAT WOULD BE ORIGINAL OF MOUNT ETNA (SICILY) UP TO 3000 FT ABOVE SEA LEVEL).TO VERIFY THIS, I WOULD HAVE SOME IMAGE OF THE FRUITS OF HARDY CHICAGO, TO SEND THEY TO EXPERTS IN THE ZONE OF MOUNT ETNA.DO YOU MAY SEND TO MY ADDRESS?SERGNIC (Sergio)
There is a bit of information along with some pictures of Hardy Chicago at figs4fun.com
Here is a link that might be useful: Hardy Chicago
Ciao Sergio,I don't have a picture of the HC fruit, but here's one I've just taken of the leaf:
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Logees claims it is from Sicily and is also known as "Bensonhurst purple"
Tanks to James, Gene, and Chills.I've yet known a lot about the origin, overall from your (very interesting) conversation in GW last months.But before of the Bellevue Nursery (NY) and the related name "Bensonhurt", is only reported as: "come from Mount Etna (Sicily), where lives up to 3300 feet above sea level" (for this is cold hardy).Now I'm in contact with the Catania University (Mount Etna region) and the agriculte people there, and I think may be interesting know the true name used THERE (as possible used by the shepherds that use the latex of said fig to curdle the sheep milk, and make cheese).Unfortunately this last "world" is in way of complete passing, and the people (more "important"), by me contacted there, answers: "we have figs in a lot of varieties, of better quality than those! Whith fruits bigger, darker, ...." and so on, ... but they don't know the name of the "fig on the mountain", only says "are used by the sheperds".I've yet some notice from there, and now from you, when I'll have some more sure notice I'll give to you.Excuse my incorrect language.ByeSergio
BTW...a quick google of the word Bensonhurst told me that the owrd might refer to (among other things) an area of Brooklyn.
Sergio....your research on this topic is quite interesting. I can't help but wonder about those figs the shepherds find among the mountains and their hardiness (the figs, not the shepherds).
I am following with interest the discussion regarding the origin of Hardy Chicago. Many thanks and a hat tip to Sergio for researching the possible origin of Hardy Chicago on Mount Etna before the remnants of traditional culture disappear into the mists of history. A perusal of Condit's Hilgardia reference using the search term "Sicily" brings up three figs. The first two, Dottato (Kadota or Binella) and San Piero (California Brown Turkey, Black Portugal, etc.) can be eliminated. The third fig mentioned by Condit in conjunction with Sicily cannot be ruled out as a candidate for a synonym of "Hardy Chicago". The reference in Condit reads:
Santagatese. Described by Ferrari (1912) as a variety of limited culture in Sicily, producing large, turbinate figs, reddish purple in color, with light strawberry pulp.
Although Hardy Chicago cannot correctly be described as "large", it does match the other descriptors, including the characteristic of "limited culture in Sicily". Following is a picture of my Hardy Chicago cultivar.
I've collected from your arguments of the last months in GW notice that the name Hardy Chicago had been originated in Chicago from a sailor of the Lakes (Fred Born), cultivated on south side of Wind City, and that was carried by Fred in Florida, from where was diffused. The fig came from New York, Belleclare Nursery, with the name of "Bensonhurt purple".It had arrived there from the Etna mount, Sicily, Italy like I have said.Unfortunately I have many difficulties to find other news from Sicily, because on the slopes of the Etna mount (to lower level) are cultivated many varieties of figs, and all people are a lot interested to speak to me from the Sicily about "the better" or bigger, figs, or quite to send to me cuttings, (I live in the North).This is not my interest now.I wish to find the name of the fig that is used (and perhaps carried) to high level by the shepherds, more resistant to the cold.The term "cool hardy" (also in italian) in Sicily does not have sense, and nobody understands the meant one, the normal figs have not never suffered the cold and therefore nobody never has been taken care to find fig resistant. The shepherds use that single type fig only because is present to that level, where they graze the sheep; in fact in summer they carry up the sheeps on the mount where there is still a little quantity of green grass, while lower fields are at all "burned" by the sun, and for the water lack.From years it was prohibited, for hygiene reasons, to make the cheese in those conditions, but however for local use the spread of that cheese is tolerated.With new norms in conformity of international trade it will become impossible.I ask you confirmation if the figs (fruits) are quite of small dimensions.Thanks of the aid of herman2, that give me informations directly, and Joseph, from Texas.Ciao,Sergio
concerning santagatese as a synonym for Hardy Chicago, I found this interesting bit...
"the veil of the patron saint of Catania, Sant'Agata, is believed to have miraculously stopped lava flows that were menacingly advancing toward major population centers on various occasions. The veil was carried in processions to the active lava fronts, and as a result these stopped moving and disasters were thus prevented."
The cathedral of Saint Agatha is in Catania at the base of Mt. Etna.
Here are some photos of my Hardy Chicago this past season:
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