HARVEST AT PATO'S DREAM DATE GARDENS
Pato's Dream Date Gardens of Thermal, California.
Temperatures have already hit 113 this summer, and
we are almost ready to harvest our organically grown
dates, with first picking estimated for early
August, – our Mariana variety (Khalal stage). We
hope to return to the Alhambra Farmers' Market in
August. Fully ripened fruit (Medjools, Halawis)
should be ready in late September and early October.
Dates in the khalal stage are still crunchy, like an apple. The color is usually yellow. As they continue to ripen after picking, they begin to turn amber and brown, turning very soft in the rutab stage. (If left on the palm, they continue to ripen from the rutab to their final stage, tamar, and begin to loose moisture, becoming firm enough to ship; and then becoming chewy. The flavor in the khalal stage can be on the tart side, pucker your mouth like an unripe persimmon or a dry wine, unless picked very close to ripening, and then a very special flavor. (I wait for a brown spot to appear to tell me they are ready, but many palates prefer them earlier than that).
The harvest of our unique Mariana dates should begin around August, with same day shipping of the fruit by priority mail, USPS. If there is a waiting list, first-to-ripen fruit will go to customers in order of money received or orders placed on line through localharvest.org. We ship a 5 lb. Bunch of dates, the fruit still attached to the strands. As the bunches continue to ripen through September, the Marianas will have less astringency and crunch, and will tend to be sweeter and softer. We try to pull off the already soft fruit (which might mash) before shipping, but some will ripen and fall off the bunch during transit. (Fruit ripens unevenly on each strand)
fruit will not ripen fully into rutab (soft), but will
get wizened and spongy, before (eventually) drying out
into a less sweet, dry tamar. We try to remove these as
we pack, but each bunch will have fruit in all stages of
Put them in the fridge to hold them in the khalal stage a little longer, or hang them out in the kitchen, porch, or succah to continue ripening. Keep dry and airy to avoid mold.
Our Barhis, the sweetest flavor of all in this stage, nicknamed “honey balls”, should be ready about September 10. (Our regular harvest should be ready early October)
line orders through localharvest.org
Email Pato at PATOZDRM@aol.com