Last week we started the date harvest and they look excellent.
The Golden Date
In the next few days we’ll start the initial sorting, packing and delivery to the local market and exporting the dates overseas.
A quality date harvest takes patience and tenderness. Medjool dates, which haven’t fully ripened yet are extremely delicate and vulnerable to shaking and rubbing. Therefore, it’s advisable to let the fruit fall on its own rather than help it. Once the ripening and date harvest are over, the dates undergo another stage – desiccation. During this stage, the dates start losing fluid and shrink. The desiccation starts on the tree and carries on a few days after the date harvest. The importance of the desiccation lies in the water left inside the fruit, which may result in souring and shorter shelf life of the fruit.
After this stage, the fruits are taken to the packing house where they undergo sanitization and then another sorting session according to the date’s size, quality and moisture level. Once this process is over, packing and delivery take place.
In this week of the season, the fruit starts developing a healthy weight. Each unit weighs about 20gr or more. The date starts taking an oval shape and the date clusters are tied to the branches to protect against winds, and to support the cluster whose weight is about to increase until the fruit’s ripening stage. Although organic dates are grown less aggressively than dates, which receive fertilizers, a professional and savvy grower can produce organic Medjool dates with similar size and quality as the regular ones.
In order to retain the quality of the Medjool date cultivar, twig knitting on the mother tree needs to take place. In due course, the twigs will be separated from their mother tree and planted.
There are various methods to perform the Medjool twig separation (once the knitting* has been done). We use a chisel for a clean cutting of the twig off the mother tree. After separation the cover is removed and the twig is planted.
After powdering, rough thinning of the date clusters takes place. Here as well there are various techniques and methods, depending on the date cultivar and on the grower’s experience and consideration. The thinning of the Medjool date is meant to improve the dates’ quality while compromising on their quantity. Later down the line an additional, more accurate thinning takes place. This thinning includes counting the number of fruits on each base of a palm frond.