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Home Grown: Date harvesting guarantees year-round jobs

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DSW premier environment for growing dates - CBS 13's April Hettinger reports

SOMERTON, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Dates are grown right here in our own backyard because of the high quality environment and ideal humidity. This is the third and final harvesting time of the year for dates before the pollination starts again.

Farmers harvest the dates by shaking the clusters into a tray.

The workers are attached to a harness for extra safety while being in charge of getting medjool dates out to the packing house where they are then sorted by color and quality.

Dave Mansheim, manager of Bard Date Company says aside from the health benefits of dates, they also give the desert southwest an advantage.

"We have a very good economic impact to the community as well as producing healthy fruit," Mansheim said. "We are offset from most of the produce business so for workers, there's much more year-round or nearly year-round employment."

Dr. Glenn Wright, extension specialist with the University of Arizona says the date palms are separated by gender, but are crucial for pollination.

"For every 49 female palms, there's one male palm," Wright explained. "Early in the year, the collect the male pollen off the male palm."

The dates are distributed all over the U.S and Canada and overseas in places like Indonesia, Japan and Australia.

Local News / News / Yuma County
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April Hettinger

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