Ficus Carica ‘Chicago Hardy Fig’

In 2023, the Ficus carica 'Chicago Hardy Fig', was introduced to Resurrection Garden. The purchase of this tree was made possible by the dedication of Berea third and fourth-grade students who raised funds. With its rich legacy in biblical stories, the fig tree holds a special significance in our garden.

At creation, God fashioned a magnificent garden for Adam and Eve, the first human beings. It was a place for them to work, live, and enjoy. The man and woman were permitted to eat from fruit from any of the trees except one—the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” as seen in Genesis 2:16–17. Being tempted by Satan, Eve ate the fruit from the tree and offered it to Adam. This was the first sin. Consequently, their eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked, leading them to make garments from fig leaves (Genesis 3:7).

Why were fig leaves chosen? The fig trees of Israel grow much larger than those in the Midwest sporting leaves as large as ten inches, useful for making adequate coverings. Even today, the fig leaf is associated with modesty as seen in many artists’ paintings.

In Genesis 3:21, it is mentioned that God made clothing for Adam and Eve using animal skins. Although the Bible does not explicitly state the reason for using animal skins, it is believed that God's act of kindness and forgiveness involved the first animal sacrifice, a precursor the Old Testament sacrificial system. This act of sacrifice foreshadowed Jesus Christ's future sacrifice on the cross, where He would shed His blood to pay the price for sin. Though fig leaves and animal sacrifices were just a covering for sin, Jesus provided full pardon through His death and resurrection so that everyone who, by faith, comes to the Lord will receive forgiveness.

The fig tree was a symbol of prosperity and peace in the Bible (Deut. 8:8; 1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zech. 3:10). But peace and prosperity could be lost, and the shaking of the fig tree was also an image of judgment (Psa. 105:33; Jer. 5:17; 8:13; Nah. 3:12; Hos. 2:12). In Bible times figs were often grown in orchards for ease in care and harvest. Often families would grow a tree outside their homes.

Though this Chicago Hardy Fig will likely freeze to the ground each winter, it will quickly grow up to 8 feet in a single summer. This is a self-pollinated variety which means it does not need another fig or specific wasp for pollination. Its edible fruit harvested in the late summer or fall is deep purple and picked when slightly soft to the touch. Birds, squirrels, and raccoons also like to eat its fruit. Figs are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Figs can be eaten fresh, made into preserves, or dried.