The harvest of new the Medjool crop started during the first couple weeks of September and trees were carrying loaded with fruit. Double Date Packing of Coachella, CA had a smaller crop last year, but is expecting a big crop for 2021-22.
Over 50 percent of the date crop is exported.
SunDate, also in Coachella, agrees noting the first date groves looks like a good crop. The company was in heavy harvest by the week of September 6th. Once the dates are harvested, they are graded stored for a few weeks to find out how good the crop is.
The Medjool variety will be harvested until about the end of October with the Deglet Nour dates picked during the last two months of the year.
Picking those dates is still a sight to behold. Though for safety reasons, packers often use automated “cherry pickers” with platforms to perform the many hand tasks needed in the life of a date (from pollination to thinning to picking), there are still many traditional pickers in the Coachella Valley that climb the trees the old-fashioned way and perform the cultural tasks 50-75 feet above ground as they cling to the tree.