Did you know that the Coachella Valley is a large producer of dates? The valley is a great recreational place for tennis, golf and pickle ball, and it’s also an important agricultural region producing about half a billion in revenues each year. One of the most important crops are dates, and there’s even a festival to celebrate dates on November 9.
Dates were brought to the US in the 1920’s from Morocco. Dates are a fresh fruit and sold in their ripened state. They are not dried like raisins. Growing dates is labor intensive. Date trees can grow over 60 feet high and growers must perform work at treetop levels 12 or more times per year.
If you drive south on Jackson Street, just a few miles past the Highway 111, you’ll end up surrounded by date farms. There are large plots of land with palm trees in neat rows growing dates. In the late summer months, as the fruit is maturing, the date clusters will be bagged to prevent birds and insects from consuming the fruit. The bags also catch dates that have matured to the point that they drop off the vine. In Fall, we’re getting ready for harvest. The ripe date clusters hang heavy on the trees. Cherry pickers are positioned next to the tree so workers can cut down the fruit.
Dates are a great food for keeping you fueled during strenuous activities like hikes, tennis, biking because they have natural sugars along with fiber that helps slow the release of carbohydrates.
Are dates ready to eat? Yes but, there are two things to be aware of:
1. Remove and discard the end cap that’s on the bottom of the date. The end cap is a little shell-like thing that you don’t want to eat.
2. Dates have a pit. The best way is to pull the date apart vertically to expose the pit
Coachella Valley is also famous for date shakes. Try one at Shields Date Garden. Coachella Valley is also famous for their great homes with a range of architecture. If you are interested a vacation or primary home, please contact me.