So today was my birthday. 🙂 Since our project here prefers that we work Tuesday through Friday (instead of Monday through Thursday), we had today off, which worked out very well because it was, you know, my birthday! I’ve been intrigued by the Date palm groves in the area so we took off to do a little research. Right out of our driveway is an old, unused grove. There were no dates in sight, but judging from the ladders hanging on at wierd angles, this was a thriving grove at one time.
We didn’t know a lot about date growing, but we had noticed a large grove with bags hanging from all the palms so we headed there first. But bad news – apparently they had been harvested.
The trees were bare (of dates),
the bags were all on the ground, and the dates were in the crates.
I was disappointed, but we headed to the largest date store in the area- Shield’s Date Gardens – to get the scoop on the Date harvest. Oh, and to try one of their (highly recommended) Date Shakes!
While we enjoyed our delicious shake (and healthy too – 6 grams of fiber!!!), we learned about dates and how tricky they are to cultivate. We thought it was pretty interesting, but you might be rolling your eyes, so if you’d like more information about the facinating Date Palm industry – check it out here! But I’m sure you want to know about the bags, right? Well, each date bunch is wrapped in paper or nylon to order to keep off the rain , and also to deter birds, sunshine, and insects from ruining the soft mature dates. I’m telling you, this date growing business in LABOR INTENSIVE!
But I still wanted to find some dates still on the trees! The fellow at Shields suggested we try a Date grower little farther south in the town of Thermal. Full of our Date shake, we headed out!
Along the way we found these – no bags, and I’m not even sure it’s a active grove, but there they were – dates on the tree!
No ladders, so I haven’t a clue how they’ll actually harvest these babies!
But on to Thermal –
These bags are a little different, but still serve the same purpose.
I think these dates will be in the crates soon!
But I wanted to see some big TALL date palm trees, so we pressed on!
Ah, Tall Date Palm trees…..
While these trees did have their ladders up high, we also saw a cherry picker down one of the rows. I think that makes a lot more sense. And might just speed the process up a little.
Here is a new field –
In about 15 years they’ll produce their first crop, but in the meantime – it’s a pretty good view, isn’t it?
So it was a good birthday. Lots of mail (some birthday related, some not), phone calls from family and lots of Facebook birthday greetings. Plus I know a litte bit more about Dates.
And maybe you do to!