SONDRA BERNSTEIN owns three renowned restaurants in Sonoma, California, including the Girl and the Fig and Estate, whose on-property garden is the source of many of the menu's ingredients. She is also the author of The Girl and the Fig Cookbook (Simon and Schuster, 2004).

"Fig trees aren't hard to maintain, but you really should be a fig lover if you're going to plant one at home. Fortunately, I have a fig obsession. There are two harvest seasons; some years you'll get lots of fruit, and some years you may be waiting around. Unless you have a wonderfully humid greenhouse, I wouldn't recommend keeping a fig tree indoors. They do best in full sun, with not too much wind. Because figs are so versatile, you can eat them raw off the tree, dry them, make jams and preserves, grill them, or bake them to be served over ice cream."