I went up highway 101. I was surprised by the long trail of date palms. Clearly not medjool dates, but date palms nonetheless. People commonly make the mistake that dates can be be grown along with other fruits, such as coconuts, but this is an incorrect assumption. Medjool dates and other dates can only be grown in very dry areas. Dates would do much better in places like Fresno and Bakersfield than in places like Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara itself is another story. It was a dilapidated. It looks much like LA. It has a lot of green vegetation and a very different culture where I think you will find more Volvos than anywhere else. It is a special place, a place with a very different culture than other places. Travel further north to SanLuis Obispo and you are faced with yet another culture. It is odd how there is so much diversity when you put a little bit of distance between people.
The weight of date palms is extreme. A date palm can weight several tons depending on the size of the palm. What is interesting is that if you have a date palm or any other palm for that matter that is too heavy too move or that you want to cut down and then move, is that you can let if dry out. Once it drys out it weights probably 10% of the original weight. Even thick Washingtonian palms with a 5 foot diameter can easily be moved, once the palm is dry. Medjool date palms and all palms in general are more akin to grass than trees and when they dry are likewise more akin to straw than wood.
As I drove up the I-5 through San Diego, I saw many date palms along the way. It reminded me of the extensive history of the date and the attempts to grow it in the New World, they failed in the caribbean and they failed in North America, but now they are expanding throughout California, Arizona, and Mexico.
Before there was a United States and before there was a California the Spanish explored California. Missionaries follows and they brought with them among other things a bunch of date seeds. The planted the seeds and to their disappointment the date palms did not produce much fruit at all. Eventually date seeds made their way to hot climate areas like Bakersfield where it was discovered that dates could be produced in California. It took a long time before anyone could grow dates in the US. The dates were actually grown in what is now called Mecca in the Coachella Valley. Back in the early 1900s an Englishman started a date orchard. He brought from by boat which landed in New York and from New York to the Coachella Valley.