Lots of people worry that fig trees aren't hardy here in NC. But figs thrive in southern heat. They can even produce a good crop in part shade and dry soil. And without any spraying, so we don't have to worry about using chemicals. Figs are probably the easiest fruit crop to grow organically in the south.
The only real threat is birds eating the figs, but we've convinced the birds that the neighbor's yards are safer by hanging an inflatable snake balloon in the fig tree to scare them away. We just move the snake every other day as the figs ripen, so they don't get used to it--and that matches our harvesting schedule anyway.
We have one fig tree called Violette de Bourdeaux that produces a late spring crop (the sweetest), a mid summer crop (the heaviest) and a late summer crop (the lightest). It has a rich, sweet flavor, juicy texture, dark purple-black skin and strawberry colored flesh. Bought it from Edible Landscaping Nursery in Afton Virginia. When I read in the catalog, that this was the one that all the chefs wanted, I had to have it.
Edible Landscaping's mission is to find or develop fruiting plants that do well in the south and can be grown organically.
Since this fig produces more than we can eat, Chris makes a fig syrup and our neighbor makes a spicy fig jam. So we save money and have fresh fruit over a long season and conserved fruit through the winter. And we give a lot away to friends. We've also eaten the figs on Chris' pizzas and have dried them in the oven (but that took over 24 hours !).
Here's a photo of our pretty figs getting stewed down for fig syrup.
Here's a pic of some figs quartered with a dollop of goat cheese and a dribble of balsamic vinegar that Chris reduced on the stove. We shared these with some friends and brought a big plateful to a potluck where they disappeared faster than a wheat field in a locust swarm.