It is March and that means that pollination is in full swing. Because date trees are dioecious, meaning that male trees produce the pollen and female trees produce the fruit, pollen must be added to the female trees in order to produce dates. Last month we talked about gathering the pollen from the male trees, and now that the female trees are ready it is time to take that pollen that we have gathered, and put it on the newly opened bunches of the female tree.
The Zahidi, is the Rodney Dangerfield of the date world, it gets "no respect". In Iraq where it is originally from the Zahidi is grown in such great quantities, and it is so inexpensive to harvest that it considered a date for poor people or goat food. This factoid was passed onto me by a customer who after sampling a Zahidi, and said he liked it an wanted to know what variety it was, upon hearing that it was a Zahadi promptly spit it out and threw the remainder of the date away.
Sadly this is not an isolated incident and sometimes the Zahidi does not get the respect of the farmers who grow them. Usually the Zahidi is the last to be bagged in the summer, and sometimes if the farmers are behind, they won't bother bagging them. There have been attempts over the year to rebrand the Zahidi, some have even gone so far as to try and change the name when selling them, These attempts however have ended in failure.