But domesticated date palms are grown there too, in quite a lot of plantations, and of course for the wonderful tasty and healthy fruit. The date palm can reach a height of 10 to 20 meters and the thickness of the trunk stays the same during its lifetime, with the width it had when it started to grow. The trees have evergreen leaves up to four, five meters long and they bloom in March/April. The female trees will bear fruit about six years after planting and will continue to do so for more than 10 years economically, the mature trees donating easily 80 or 100 kg of fruit in each season, which will be harvested here twice or three times in autumn, from August to December.
The dates can be consumed in several stages of ripeness, from yellow and crunchy, to deep brown and soft and sweet. Dates are rich in iron, vitamin B and potassium, and an excellent source of fiber, low on sodium and cholesterol free!
The trees are flowering right now, and we saw today that the bunches are currently tied together. Later they will be cut loose, and when the fruits appear paper or plastic bags will be put over them to protect them from harsh weather conditions, like strong wind, and from birds pecking at them.
Those palm gardens are a wonderful sight, with the high straight trunks (in between the blue sea can be seen), the wide crowns of long dark green feathery leaves, the bushels of the fruit, which are most beautiful later, when they reach their sun yellow color.
We had a marvelous day and our picnic included sweet delicious dates, which have been sun dried and are called here tamar, tmarim in plural. Next week at Passover we will eat date sirup with ground nuts, called charoset.
Photos by this one and his helper:
Uri Eshkar and Dafi.