Brown Date Garden

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at Brown Date Garden
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of dates

This month in the fields at Brown Date Garden

| January | February | March | April | May | June |
| July | August | September | October | November | December
| Pollination process | Deglet Noor harvest |


January


  
Barhee date palm with Ted
This Barhee date palm is 12 years old; these palms grow about one foot each year.
 


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February



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March



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April


  
Medjool date palms
Our Medjool date palms are straight and tall, not bending over.
 


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May



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June



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July


  
Green Barhee dates
No, these are not green grapes. These are barhee dates that will turn yellow sometime in August, when it really gets hot in the desert. The brown paper bag keeps the rain off the fruit.
 


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August


  
Yellow Barhees being clipped for shipping in August
Yellow Barhees being clipped for shipping.
 


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September


  
Harvesting Medjool dates
To harvest Medjool dates, we hand-pick the dates, place them inside a wicker basket that we lower to the ground with a long rope, sort and "field grade" the dates, then place the fruit into boxes. The boxes of dates then go to our packing house for storage, cleaning, and final grading.
 


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October


  
Grading Medjools
Our experienced packing house crew grades the Medjool dates individually by size, color, and dryness.
 


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November



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December



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The pollination process
(February-April)


male flowers on drying racks«Step 1 — remove the male flowers, remove their sheaths

First, we remove the flower clusters from the tops of the male date palm before the stamens ripen. The sheath on all flowers will open as it ripens unless they are tied closed; males are tied so that we don't lose pollen to wind and bees. Then we place the male flowers on drying racks. Male flowers come out about 2-3 weeks before the female flowers. Male flowers are large, up to 40 pounds each. We remove the sheath that protects the male flowers, then we split the male flowers for faster drying. [In photo, the left hand is removing the sheath that protects the male flowers.]


removing sheath from flower«Step 2 — separate the pollen

Once dried, we shake the flowers to separate the pollen. [This photo shows male deglet flowers, which are similar to flowers of other date varieties.]


splitting flowers for drying«Step 3 — dry the pollen

We dry and store the pollen for use next month to pollinate the female palms; if we don't dry the pollen, it would get moldy and unusable. One male date palm can be used to pollinate about 40 to 50 female palms.


female Deglet flowers«Step 4 — remove female flowers

These are female Deglet Noor flowers. Female date flowers have no visible petals and do not appear open. They do not have any aroma, so they don't attract bees. We cut off the center of the flower in order to produce greater size fruit, rather than greater numbers of fruit.


Step 5 — pollination

We mix cotton balls with the pollen (taken earlier from the male palms) and swab each female stem. We then cover the date strands with a small bag in order to create heat for the stem.



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The Deglet Noor harvest
(October-November)

climbing to top of tree«Step 1 — climb to top of palm

Our Deglet Noor palms are about 55 to 60 feet tall. To climb each palm, we use a 48-foot ladder to get from the ground to the bottom of the 20-foot ladder that is permanently tied to the top of the palm. We have to move the 48-foot ladders from palm to palm.

cutting off date bunch«Step 2 — cut date bunch

We use knives forged from bulldozer springs. Our men spend about eight hours sharpening a new knife in order to make it razor sharp.

lowering date bunch to ground«Step 3 — lower date bunch to ground

After cutting each bunch, we place it on a steel hook and lower it to the ground with a long rope.

removing bunch from hook«Step 4 — remove bunch from hook

The ground crew removes the bunch from the hook, which then goes up for the next bunch.

opening up date bunch«Step 5 — drop bad dates

We open up the bunch to let any infested dates fall to the ground. If any seedlings grow from these dates, we treat them like weeds. Our palms are grown directly from palm offshoots only, to maintain fruit quality.

shaking good dates loose«Step 6 — keep good dates

We shake the good dates loose so that they fall into the bin, which holds about 700 pounds of dates. Deglet Noor dates are hardy and not as susceptible to being crushed.



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Brown Date Garden's land-mail address = 69245 Polk Street, Thermal, CA 92274
Office phone = (760) 397-4309.
E-mail address = tjfish4@verizon.net
Website address = http://www.browndategarden.com
Website design by James.com
Photos at top of page [left to right] = Empress dates, Yellow Barhee bunch weighing 124 pounds (more than twice the "average" size bunch), Medjool dates, some of our prize-winning dates at the annual Indio Date Festival, Deglet Noor dates, and our prize-winning citrus fruit.
All photos on this web site were taken by Brown Date Garden staff; © 2012-2013 Brown Date Garden.