Fig Fest 2022: What to expect from the North East’s biggest fruit celebration

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STATEN ISLAND, NY – As the region’s fig trees bear fruit, fans of the ficus are planning an annual party – Fig Fest. This year, the Tremendous Fruit Celebration takes place on Sunday, September 18.

The National Lighthouse Museum will host the 13th Annual Fig Fest as a fundraiser from 2-6 p.m. at 200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point. The suggested donation at the entrance is $5.

Fig Fest at the Lighthouse Museum on September 15, 2019. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)(Staten Island Advance/Pamela Si

The waterfront plaza outside the museum will feature a DJ as well as “all things fig tree,” a representative from the nonprofit St. George said – trees, plant clippings , works of art and baked goods. Food is available for purchase, including a specially made pizza by Pier 76 – white fig and goat cheese with balsamic fig reduction.

As tradition dictates, growers bring their loot to exchange tastes and mutual admiration among friends of fig cultivation. This part of the event occurs in the first hour. Meanwhile, the products are evaluated by fig experts and a Fig King for 2022 is declared by the former title holders.

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Fig-o-philes gathered at Turtle Circle in Midland Beach for the Fig Festival where enthusiasts brought their fig trees and homemade gourmet fig treats. Adrienne Ferretti of Grasemere was crowned Queen of the Fig on Thursday September 15, 2011. Since then she has been a key player in the festival. (Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo) Staten Island Advance

To enter the contest or become a vendor, email [email protected] Vendors can also go directly to this link to register – https://lighthousemuseum.org/events/fig-fest-vendor-registration.

This year, Robert DeFalco is the honorary chairman and his Dongan Hills-based company, Robert DeFalco Realty, is the title sponsor of Fig Fest. Other supporters include Northfield Bank, the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, Councilor Kamillah Hanks, Bentson & Company and ICC Commonwealth.

DeFalco said, “At age 9, I tasted my first fig. Needless to say, it was love at first sight!”

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Robert DeFalco in Colts Neck, NJ with one of his favorite white Italian fig trees. (Courtesy of Robert DeFalco)

He loved going to work with his father in his Italian supermarket in Little Italy, especially in late August and early September during the harvest season. During his lifetime, DeFalco studied the science of growing plants, and when he bought a house in Colts Neck, NJ two decades ago, he dedicated some of the farmland solely to figs. Now he grows dozens of varietals, some of which are tended to be donated to Fig Fest.

Its ultimate hope is to inspire the garden novice, in a general sense, and develop their own love for growing ficus.

Award-winning producer, former Fig King and two-time Fig Fest Grand Marshal DeFalco said: “I look forward to Fig Fest as I do every year. This is the only event that satisfies people’s curiosity on the subject. It brings me great joy to see people chatting and enjoying figs on a beautiful fall day well into the evening. I’m really proud to be a sponsor.

Robert DeFalco

Robert DeFalco shows only a tiny fraction of his harvest of figs from Colt’s Neck. He gives the fruits to friends and colleagues in his office. (Courtesy of Robert DeFalco)

The inclusion of papayas, a quintessentially American fruit – which looks tropical – native to Staten Island and the Northeast, was also of great interest to Fig Fest, as it evolved.

Fig Fest began at the Turtle Fountain in Midland Beach as a casual gathering in 2010. It originally took place annually on September 15, rain or shine and any day of the week. week that date fell. When the festival outgrew its original beach home in its third year – and the parks department said “not here” – the gathering took place at Casa Belvedere, Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn and The Veranda at Silver Lake Golf Course.

Fig Festival

Pier 76 Fig Slice (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

Since the Lighthouse Museum took over the event, it is now held on the third Sunday of September.

The National Lighthouse Museum is located at 200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point in St. George. Parking is tedious and public transport is recommended. For questions, text or call the museum or Linda Dianto at 347-463-1119. The museum is accessible via Lighthousemuseum.org.

Pamela Silvestri is editor-in-chief of Advance Food. She can be reached at [email protected].

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