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Volunteers pitch in to harvest ASU’s hard-to-pick, easy-to-eat dates

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Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014

By Wynne Mancini

MESA – It’s easy enough to grab a box of tasty, sweet dates from the grocery or farmer’s market. Getting them off the tree, however, is another story. Volunteers help harvest the fruit from date palms at Arizona State University’s arboretum, one of only four “genetic banks” in the country because of the variety of rare and uncommon dates the grow there. The date grove can produce up to 3,500 pounds of dates in a good year. But harvesting them is no easy task, with pickers having to navigate past sharp fronds and spines on the trees for the payoff of a sweet, fresh date.