Growing up in an Italian American family in New Jersey, the granddaughter of immigrants, I was well acquainted with a vegetable garden and fruit trees. My maternal grandfather, being a man of few words, had a somewhat intimidating aura about him; being a child I never considered that it was possibly because his English language skills were somewhat limited. In an attempt to replicate what he left behind in Calabria, he planted the fruits and vegetables of his childhood, including a fig tree. Now, there is nothing unusual about that is there? Certainly not, however the eerie part of his fig cultivation ritual included an annual late fall removal of the fig tree from the ground, followed by an earthen burial to protect this native Mediterranean species from the harsh New Jersey winters. Somehow, looking out of my bedroom window during the bleak days of winter and gazing at the fig burial site, I felt a bit uneasy….