Took a tour of a working Date Farm with my Montana friends Chuck & Patti Renevier. WOW, what a learning experience. The process of raising, caring & harvesting Dates is very LABOR intensive. End of the tour was topped of with a Date Shake, YES, as in milk shake. Highly recommend this habit forming desert.
Martha’s Gardens Medjool Date Farm was founded in 1990 by Nels Rogers and his wife Martha. The farm originated on a parcel of desert land on the Yuma Mesa overlooking Yuma’s beautiful Gila Valley, located 10 miles east of downtown Yuma.
In the beginning of operations, the Rogers family cleared the previously unused desert land in preparation for planting the Medjool date palms. After clearing the land was completed, wells were drilled and a drip irrigation system was installed to irrigate the palms on a year round basis. Date production requires a large amount of water, even though date palms are a desert plant and can survive drought conditions.
The original planting consisted of 300 Medjool date palm off-shoots and the Rogers family farm today has roughly 8000 palms planted on over 100 acres. Each year the family has the opportunity to plant additional acreage by removing the young offshoots that are produced naturally as clones of themselves by the adult female palms.
Martha’s Gardens began their harvesting of Medjool dates in 1999. Date farming is a very labor intensive type of farming. Dates require a 6 month growing season that begins in the spring and ends in the summer. Several steps are required from beginning to end to ensure a successful crop, and the work required to be performed is all hands-on.
The Rogers family prides themselves in producing the finest Medjool dates in all of Arizona. As Martha says “we raise our dates as we raise our children - with love”.
One side NOTE: The last time I had a date was back in October!