Here is a bit of history for you. Floyd and Bess Shields came to the California Desert in 1924 and started Shields Date Garden. They worked long and hard to built up their business and educate customers about date culture. Floyd was a pioneer in the date business, breeding this own varieties of dates. For educational purpose we can watch a short movie called : The romance & Sex life of the Date. A very educational little movie !!
The date is the oldest known cultivated tree crop an one of the least understood of all fruits produced. Palms are planted at 48 females to one male per acre. Each male palm can produce enough pollen for 49 female trees. Each bundle of dates is pollinated by hand. Pollination is done during February and March. Some varieties have fewer leaves and therefore fewer dates per tree. Thinning promotes larger and better fruit for the current year and normal blooms for the next year’s crop.
Protective paper covers are put over the date bunches during July and August to protect the ripening fruit form summer rains and birds. The dates begin to fully ripen at the end of August, and from then until Christmas, the trees are picked several times as the fruits ripen. The gardens are cleaned up after the fruit is picked and the yearly cycle of date culture begins again.
The dates are reached by climbing up ladders permanently attached to each tree . The trees at Shields Date Garden are 15 to 90 years old. On the photo below you can see the ladder on the very tall tree.
We bought some dates. I am not sure which one taste the best. Medjool Dates are the largest variety of dates. They are a soft date. They are often called the “Cadillac” of dates. They grew in the California Desert from offshoots imported by USDA from Morocco. Deglet Noor Dates are a semi-dry date originally from Algeria. Many people prefer Deglet Noor dates because they are more chewy than a Medjool and not as rich.
The average size date has 21 calories and 5-6 medium sized dates equal one serving of five-a-day fruit and vegetable servings. A serving of dates is a fat free, cholesterol free, sodium free and a good source of fiber. They contain many mineral and vitamins. Dates are healthy. So, let’s eat dates !!!
I hope you enjoyed the information about the dates ! Thanks for reading.