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Bit of a long shot, but anyway I'm looking for a tool (which I can build) which can pick figs without tearing them. I have a plastic bottle fruit picker of the sort which is often demonstrated on YouTube, and it works great for apples and pears, but it kind of destroys figs. 8'(

I once saw some Chinese people picking figs with a tool which seemed to have a loop on it and they would pull the loop tight, and it would hang onto the fig as they pulled it off the tree, preventing it from tearing. I didn't get a good look at it, and although I can imagine a similar mechanism, if anyone has experience with something like that, I'd be glad to hear about it.

The other idea that I had is that I've seen some tools for sale online which are plastic cups with wide fingers facing up (hmm, I don't seem to be able to find an example at the moment). It seems like that could work -- lifting the fig up might be a better way to pull it off than pulling down. Has anyone tried a tool like that on figs?

Actually any experience with any tool for picking figs would be really interesting to me. I live in a place (Portland, Oregon) where figs often ripen better in the tops of the trees where there's more sun ... tantalizingly out of reach! Thanks for any words of wisdom.

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  • I'd think actually cutting them free (so like a pole pruner with a catch bag) but I've never had an actual fig tree (too cold, or I'm too lazy to bury one every fall and exhume it every spring) just my impression from when I can get fresh figs. Will be interesting to see what's actually done in practice.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 4, 2023 at 12:20
  • I doubt very much there is successful tool. Make jam or refrigerate. Many fruits like peaches and strawberries are bred to be tough enough for mechanical harvest. Other properties like flavor, are sacrificed.. Oct 4, 2023 at 15:53

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Commercially it appears that the preferred method is hand picking, which suits the fact that figs do not ripen all at the same time. Twisting the base (attachment point) of the fruit sideways works quite well since it leaves a piece of stem attached which reduces moisture loss in storage.

My own fig plants are grown in pots since they need to be brought inside during winter. This has the advantage that height is controlled. My fruits are harvested with garden pruners to leave a piece of stem attached; the stem is removed by hand when the fruit is consumed.

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