Posts Tagged “date shipments”

Date Harvest Completed with Shipments Underway

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Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool Dates co-op of Yuma, AZ and its 14 growers completed harvesting of dates in late September, a few weeks later than normal due to temperatures that were slightly cooler in Yuma.

The growers grow conventional and organic medjool, while others also grow deglet noors outside of the co-op. The co-op also imports other varieties.

The winter holidays and the months leading up to Ramadan are peak shipping periods for date.

Dates are known for health benefits, which include fiber, potassium, antioxidants and many other vitamins and minerals.

Although dates are sweet because of their high fiber content, they are low on the glycemic index, which allows the body to burn the sugar much more slowly.

  • Deglet Noor dates are smaller and lighter in color, more amber than brown, and they are semi-dry in texture, making them soft but firm. Medjool dates are larger and have a soft, chewy texture and a sweet, caramel-like flavor.
  • Deglet dates are less sweet than Medjool, and also have a slightly nutty taste to them similar to browned butter or cashews.
  • Medjool dates are usually sold with the pit still within the fruit, whereas Deglet Noor dates are commonly sold pitted, with the seed being removed.

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California Date Shippers are Expecting a Big Crop

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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. 

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Natural Delights Date Shipments Should Have Promising Year

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YUMA, AZ — Just in time for the annual Medjool date harvest, Bard Valley Natural Delights® shares Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) data showing a promising year for the category, and even more so for the Natural Delights brand.

According to IRI data pulled on June 27, 2021, the total Medjool date category is up 5.7% year over year (YOY). Bard Valley Natural Delights growth is up 6.4%, outpacing competitors and driving overall category growth. 

Some key insights from this data also show that fixed weight packaged products are up 7.5% YOY, a trend that has been accelerated with the rising concerns with bulk products during COVID. The brand expects that shoppers will continue to prefer more packaged products in the 2021-22 year.

Organic product growth is up a staggering 14.5%. Bard Valley Natural Delights organic product growth is up 15% which, much like overall category growth, shows that the brand is leading organic category growth as well. Bard Valley Natural Delights continues to invest in organic products by converting many of their groves to USDA Certified Organic and broadening product lines to include both conventional and organic varieties. 

“We’ve been meeting the needs of organic shoppers for several years now, so this data is encouraging as we continue to expand our product lines to include organic options,” added Baxter.

About Bard Valley Natural Delights®

Natural Delights® Medjool Dates, the leading Medjool date brand in the country, is a naturally sweet, whole fresh fruit grown in Bard Valley at the intersection of Arizona, California and Mexico where its very specific set of growing conditions are met.

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California Date Shipments Pick Up; Florida Berry Shipper Expands

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Now is the heaviest time of the year for shipments of California dates….Plus here’s news on an expansion of a major Florida strawberry shipper.

With the harvest in storage, California has a bumper date crop this year.  Although dates are shipped year around, the November-December holiday season is the heaviest.  Dates are a great fall item and common on holiday menus.  A significant change has occurred in recent years with date shipments.  Retailers used to order a heavier volume in early November, stack up the date cartons in their warehouse and keep an inventory for the two end-of-the-year holiday months.   Now many retailers want weekly shipments on date and many other items as they seek to cut warehousing costs.

SunDate LLC of Coachella, CA is a major date shipper in the Coachella Valley where most of the product is grown and shipped.

Florida Strawberry Sipments

PLANT CITY, FL – Family-owned and operated Astin Farms, is continuing to expand its operations on the heels of a recent 200-acre farmland acquisition in Plant City, FL.

Astin, which was formed in 2001, has begun to make its mark in the produce industry.  Recently the company added 10,000 square-feet of refrigerated old storage space and two new cooling units to address the growth of Astin’s conventional and organic strawberry program.

New expansion will now allow the company to pre-cool about 13,000 cases at a time.   The new cooling space is slated to be in operation by mid-December.

In addition, Astin will have 160 acres of blueberries this spring and just recently planted another 100 acres.     Astin produces over 40 million pounds of fruit each season which is shipped across and to Canada.


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California Date Shipments Continue to Increase

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DSCN6055Date shipments over the past 15 years have shown steady increases as newer palms produce more fruit each season.

California date volume should exceed 50 million pounds this season.  Bearing acreage over the past five years has averaged 7,700 acres, while date production volume for that time frame averaged 47.5 million pounds.

Dates are harvested in September and October from California’s desert regions.  The Coachella Valley is the main production area, though dates are also grown in the desert region of Bard Valley, which straddles the California-Arizona border, and there is limited pickings near Las Vegas.

Dates are grown on a date palm tree that typically grows about 20 feet high.   It is a labor-intensive crop that requires much more care than the average tree fruit.   Pickers have to be at eye-level with the date bunches seven different times in a five-month-period.  From artificial pollination to harvest, in California workers are typically raised to the top of the tree in some type of mechanical device.

Dates are sold from cold storage or the freezer throughout the year as they have an extended shelf life.   Demand has been increasing and creating a year-round market, but holiday sales – particularly  Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah are most popular.  Lesser holidays popular with dates are Easter and Passover in the spring.  There is also a very big demand during the monthlong Muslim Ramadan celebration. Ramadan is a lunar calendar holiday that moves 10-14 days earlier each year.  It began in mid-June in 2015 and will have a start date of early June in 2016.

SunDate LLC, headquartered in Coachella, CA. SunDate is a partnership between the date growing operations of Anthony Vineyards and Chuchian Ranch.

Two major date shippers are Atlas Produce & Distribution Inc., in Bakersfield, CA,  and Hadley Date Gardens in Thermal, CA.

Southern California citrus and vegetables – grossing about $4200 to Chicago.

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