The Dubious Dozen (#10 Alma)

Alma fig equals Florea for most boring fig in the world. Step aside dull and drab Florea, it’s super easy to forget about Alma too. This fig was created about 50 years ago at Texas A&M University, which is hard to believe. Who in their right mind would purposefully create a lumpy misshapen fig that is both dull brown on the outside and dull brown on the inside? Can you imagine the mid-row conversation? “We got one! A fig! We got a fruit! We did it!” Was this the first and only fig they manged to propagate at Texas A&M, home of the Aggies? Sure, Alma is well suited to southeast Texas’s hot and humid climate, and the fig tastes like a big gooey ball of honey goopy goodness, and though its skin can be unusually smooth with curious micro-designs, did the fig have to be brown? All the way through? Who eats brown fruit? Let alone creates it? Louisiana State University perpetrated the same dreary result with its lead propagator’s mahogany colored namesake fig, O’Rourke. Brown on the outside, brown on the inside, brown all the way through. Makes you brown in the brain! In Georgia a century ago, E.W. Hunt at least got a bit of strawberry red into the pulp of his namesake brown fig. Or was he color blind, thinking the pulp was brown like the skin? In that drab old Texas A&M lab when it came to selecting Alma, someone may have looked at too many numbers and at too many lab walls, and not enough at the bright beautiful Texas sun. Maybe it’s true, what they say at the University of Texas, that Texas A&M Aggies climb over glass walls to see what’s on the other side. Maybe it’s true that Aggies don’t like M&Ms because they are too hard to peel. Maybe it’s true that Aggies no longer serve ice in the school cafeterias because the senior who knew the recipe graduated. Maybe it’s true that Columbus originally had four ships but the Aggie sailed off the flat edge of the Earth. Oh to be an Aggie! Maybe simply get a few more women inside those fig propagation units. Women after all are genetically less likely to be color blind than men. Figs are a kind of flower become fruit, and flowers have colors: Red! Yellow! Blue! Figs should be colorful too, especially the human-made ones. There is no reason for a fig to not look like a lively flower, no reason for a fig to look like a nut, no reason for a fig to look like dirt. Tell that to the Aggies. UT folks do. (Not that the University of Texas has ever bred so much as a single fig. Good move maybe.) The State of Texas coined a cheeky slogan: Don’t mess with Texas! Maybe it should adhere to a more sober one: Don’t mess with figs!

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