The Sweet, Sustainable Date

On the Farm and Beyond


California’s ideal climate and culture of innovation make it  the most productive date-growing region in the United States.

California is one of the few places on earth with the arid climate needed to grow dates.
The ideal climate is a major reason the state produces more than 85% of the dates grown in the U.S.


Desert soils are coarse in texture, shallow, and gravelly with good drainage.

Drip irrigation and modern irrigation technology allow date farmers to better control water usage and make adjustments as needed.

Low Carbon Footprint

California Dates have much lower transportation costs when purchased and consumed locally in North America.

This reliable, local practice reduces the carbon and pollution burden associated with imported fruit from other continents.

Food Waste

Dates have edible skin and no peel or rind resulting in minimal food waste.

Spoilage of dates is among the lowest
because they have a long shelf life and very little moisture.

Dates keep well frozen and can be refrigerated for 6 months in an airtight

Innovation Though Research

Date growers participate in educational seminars and training to learn soil management techniques to ensure a healthy soil future in the Coachella Valley.

To support on-farm improvements, the California Date Commission translates research findings into actionable and field-ready recommendations shared with farmers and processors through a variety of educational resources, field workshops, and best practices.

Using Everything the Orchard Grows

California date growers participate in agriculture waste disposal programs and are committed to new uses of date coproducts that support California’s mission of creating a genuine bioeconomy where every byproduct is an input for another valuable product.

Environmental Impact

In the southeastern area of Riverside County, California lies the Coachella Valley, a low desert region providing an arid climate for agriculture. It is predicted that hothouse effects will increase desertification, so Date palms, which have for thousands of years adapted to the desert will increase in importance.

Date palms grow in dry deserts with extreme daily temperature fluctuations through the four seasons of the year. During the hot summer months, the treetop canopies of the palm orchards provide shade and humidity to help block the sun’s rays. Without the shade and humidity provided by the palm’s canopies, the desert surface would receive double the heating solar radiation of humid regions and heat would be lost during the cool nights.

Rainfall is less than 28 centimeters a year in the Coachella Valley where the vast majority of Date palms grow in the United States. Humidity production in a palm orchard provides a lot of the palm’s own needs for water. Condensation of dew caused by night cooling may equal or exceed the annual rainfall of the area. Many of the valley’s Date orchards use drip lines to control water usage specifically to time of day and seasonal temperatures. Date palms have adapted to long rainless periods and hot temperatures, thus creating rare desert canopies. Desert soils are course in texture, shallow, rocky, gravely with good drainage and have no subsurface water. Canal irrigation to drip lines provide water to the orchards. Each cluster of the Date fruit grows in the shade of large palm leaves. The fruit has a waxy or glossy surface, allowing them to reflect more of the sun radiant energy. Dates also contain polyphenol antioxidants that filter UV light protecting the Date flesh and seed.

Dates are placed into baskets and large bins from the palms during the harvest season, carefully transported to packing facilities for sorting, washing and cleaning. The stems are removed producing minimal waste. Fresh Dates are sold in various forms, retail and wholesale. They may have pits (stone-like seed) removed, known as a“pitted” Date, or the pits can remain in the Date, known as a “whole” Date. Dates not meeting regulation grade are used for livestock feed.

Dates have an edible skin and no peel or rind, giving consumers minimal food waste. Spoilage of Dates is among the lowest as they have a long shelf life and very little moisture. Dates keep well frozen and can be refrigerated for 6 months. Airtight containers help to prevent Dates from drying out too quickly during the storage period and are easily re-hydrated with a steam hydration method.

California Dates have much lower transportation costs when purchased and consumed locally in North America. This reliable local practice reduces the carbon and pollution burden associated with imported fruit from other countries. Dates have low water concentrations at 30% or less by weight. This enables more fruit per pound to be transported.

Date palms are amongst the most resilient long-lived trees in agriculture. The palms can bear their first production of fruit anywhere from four to eight years and maintain their production until the palms reach approximately 80 years of age but can continue to live
on into their 150th year.

The Date palm harvest begins in the fall and can last for three to four months as the fruit is not harvested all at once. Once harvested and processed, the fruit can be stored in coolers to last one year.

Female Date palms naturally produce off-shoots near the base of the palm. These young off-shoots are removed from the mother palm during a dormant period and replanted into new orchards to continue the cycle of the tree life.

California Date Palms Cleaning the Air

The Lungs of the Desert

  • Date palms absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and produce sugars, oxygen, and water
  • Date palms are larger than most trees and have large root systems as this allows them to take up more CO2.
  • Because date palms are long lived, they can take up to one ton of CO2 for each tree over their lifetime.
  • Trees are the natural lungs of the earth cleaning the air and producing oxygen.
  • The date palm leaves are very dense and are adapted to high temperatures of the desert tolerating up to 120 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Date palm shoots growing from the trunk are removed and planted to grow new trees – starting the process again.

Oxygen Factory

  • One acre of palm trees absorbs 26 cars of CO2 annually.
  • One automobile’s emissions are absorbed by 23 palm trees annually.
  • A date palm tree absorbs 200kg (440 lbs) of CO2 per year

Water Usage