The inaugural Date Harvest Festival is set for Saturday, the idea for the event came from a local date farmer who wanted to share one of the Coachella Valley’s biggest export with the rest of the community.
The Palm Trees are set, so are the tractors and the bar menu that was carefully crafted to spotlight the main event, the local dates.
The co-founder of the festival, Michele Tulli said people will be surprised to see all of the types of dates that will be on full display at the festival.
“There are so many varieties we have crunchy dates that taste like crab apples,” Tulli said. “We have soft very moist dates that taste like buttery caramel, and everything in between so I think the word date that people have in their mind is just going to be shattered.”
Mark Tadros is the owner of Aziz Farms, he partnered with Tulli to plan the festival. He envisioned a gathering where people can learn about the local date harvest but also an event where people can see the many uses of dates in recipes, from cocktails to entrees.
Tadros said, “That is the whole of idea of this right, let them know that this is grown here and that this valley produces 90 percent of the dates in the United States that there are more than one or two varieties.”
The Fall months are the peak season for date harvesting, he thought it would be the perfect time for the local farmers to present their crops to others.
Tadros said, “At last count, a little over 20 different varieties that are going to be sold and we’re also going to sample them so the public can taste different varieties.”
The Mayor of Coachella, Steven Hernandez sees the first Date Harvest Festival within the city as a way to bring in more visitors and business to the area.
Hernandez said, “It made sense, it made sense because we have the capacity at the same time there’s an eagerness and willingness to continue to bring in more tourism out here.”
The organizers of the festival said they want it to be an annual event to celebrate the local crop and the people behind it.
Tulli said, “There are upwards of 500 actual date workers that just got comp tickets we want them to realize how much we appreciate them.”
The Date Harvest Festival will be hosted at Coachella’s Rancho Las Flores Park, the festival starts at noon.