I had heard the claim that you could get figs to ripen early by smearing the mouths with olive oil. I once tried it with uncertain results, and so kind of classed it as a superstition. Growing figs in Northern NJ is kind of a crap shoot. I got maybe two from old wood so far and look anxiously at the new wood ones wondering if they will ripen before the first frost.. This Saturday I figured what the heck and smeared a dozen or two of the largest ones. I really can't believe that three days later they're not fully ripe, but pretty bloody close... I'm converted.