Figs with history: a century-old botanical heritage surrounded by a complex cultural landscape.
We combine solar energy, agroecology and dried figs grown on ancient fig trees in order to show the importance of this fruit in our history. The fig farm is located in Arequipa, Perú. Our figs are dried mainly on the fig tree; then we have the weather, soil and biodiversity to work with these principles. With them, we prepare high-quality fig based products such as spanish fig bread, fig coffee, fig syrup and fig salami.
Each fig is treated by hand after the drying process. They come from fig trees that are the oldest botanical manifestation of an European crop in America. Pollinated dried figs are functional food full of antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamin B and contain also omega 3. We don't use any kind of sulfites or any other chemical.
We only use solar energy to produce our fig products: solar dryers for the drying process and solar ovens for the fig coffee. In our region we have 310 days with sun per year and we use it as our main resource.
The Siguas Valley, located in Arequipa in southern Peru, is the scene of the coexistence between very old -and still productive- fig trees, petroglyphs, enigmatic geoglyphs, archeological complexes and concentrations of huge stones. Through this red valley full of colonial, Inca and pre-Inca roads and surrounded by volcanoes, it is possible to observe different cultural manifestations as evidence of social change, ritual behaviors and food systems.
We also make clay modeling with fig paste and dried fruits from our fig farm like apples, peaches and bloodberries. We represent scenes from films, tales and legends (like "The neverending story") and biodinamic farms using dried figs, flowers and other solar fruits.
"Figs with history" is also a documentation through Peru and Europe. I want to show the enormous tradition of the dried fig in the gastronomy and the affinities between people living in different continents in similar landscapes, lifestyles and human relationships. This documentation portraits twelve countries (Spain, Italy, France, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Slovenia, Bosnia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Peru) and could be done thanks to the support of fig growers, fig bread artisans, gardeners and collectors in Europe, who share their knowledge with us. This work was presented 2018 in Athens, Greece, as an exhibition for the Soil School Greece and 2019 in Rovinj, Croatia, during the last International Fig Symposium. More information about this project here.
We finance our research in Peru and Europe with the commercialization of our functional fig products, selling the edible fig sculptures, offering consulting in solar cooking and exposing our pictures.
Text and pictures: Christian Vera