Date Fruit - California Dates

Since before the existence of Man over 50,000 years ago - Date palms and their fruit have been instrumental to humans. The Mesopotamians recognized the tree's versatility and value; its sweet fruit became an essential part of their diet and the palm offered "three hundred and sixty" uses including needles, thread, lumber, mattresses, rope, baskets and other household items; as well as food and beverage.

Date Palms were planted in the Coachella Valley in the 1890s. Well, excuse me, Date Palms were planted in the Coachella Valley of California, which is approximately two hours east of Los Angeles in the early 1890s. And now, plantings cover over 6,500 plus acres. These acres produce over 40 million pounds of our four primary varieties, which are the Deglet-Noor, the Medjool, the Barhi and the Zahidi. The Coachella Valley Date industry maintains a rather steady employment base of around 2,500 people.

Incredibly, the 40 million pounds I mentioned earlier is less than 15 percent of the world Date production. California and Arizona produced Dates are the best looking and best tasting in the world. And we need to keep in mind that in the world market, we are not volume producers, we are quality based producers and shipp

The Arecaceae or palm family is a large, distinct family of woody monocotyledonous plants, containing up to 4000 species distributed over 200 genera. The date palm, Phoenix dactylifera L., is one of three economically important fruit crops in the palm family. Coconut (Cocos nucifera) and African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) are the other two crops, both of which are true tropical species, whereas date palm is considered subtropical.

There are an estimated 3000 cultivars of date palm worldwide, but just a few are important in the global market. ‘Medjool' is probably the best known and one of the highest quality dates available. Fruit are large, soft, and ship well, making it one of the most preferred for exportation. ‘Deglet Noor' is a high yielding, semi-dry cultivar, popular in northern Africa and the major cultivar in California. ‘Barhi' (Barhee) originated in Basra, Iraq, and is another high yielding cultivar. It is unusual in that is lacks the normal astringency of other dates at the Khalal (middle) stage of development, and can be eaten when crisp and immature; other cultivars are eaten at later stages when dried and brown.


Dates are native to the Persian Gulf area of the middle east, where they have been cultivated for at least 6000 years, longer than many other fruit crops. Date palms were one of the few crop plants that could survive desert conditions, and became a reliable source of food in an otherwise inhospitable climate. Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, and other ancient people used the palm for house construction and thatching as well as for food. It was spread across northern Africa along the coast and at oases by nomadic people, where it became a staple crop. Iraq led the world in date production from antiquity until recently, and is the origin of many major cultivars. Dates were introduced to northern Mexico and California by Spanish missionaries in the late 1700s. However, it was not until the turn of the 20th century, when superior cultivars were introduced, that the California industry was born. A research station was established in Indio, California in 1904 to study date and citrus cultivation. Cultivars collected from northern Africa and the middle east were brought to the station and studied by USDA scientists, and later released to growers. A small but healthy date industry is located around Indio today.15.2


World (2004 FAO) - 6,772,068 MT or 15 billion pounds. Dates are produced in 35 countries worldwide on about 2.9 million acres. Average yields are just over 5000 lbs/acre.

Top 10 countries
(% of world production)
1. Egypt (17%)
6. Pakistan (10%)
2. Iran (14%) 7. Algeria (7%)
3. Saudi Arabia (13%) 8. Oman (4%)
4. United Arab Emirates (12%) 9. Sudan (4%)
5. Iraq (10%) 10. Libya (2%)

United States (2004 USDA) - 18,818 MT or 41.4 million pounds. All dates are produced in extreme southern California near Indio on about 4500 acres. Industry value is $31.5 million; price paid to growers is 76 ¢/lb. Average yields in California are 9000 lbs/acre.

California Date Growers and Handlers

* for mail use only - Click the Suppliers name to view their products and services

Brown Date Garden Cal Sungold, Inc
69-245 Polk Street P.O. Box 1540*
Thermal, CA 92274 Indio, CA 92202
760.397.4309 760.399.5646, Fax 760.399.1968

California Desert Dates Desert Valley Date
90-785 Avenue 81 86-740 Industrial Way
Thermal, CA 92274 Coachella, CA 92236
760.397.2811, Fax 760.397.1517 760.398.0999, Fax 760.398.1514

Hadley Date Gardens Jewel Date Company
83-555 Airport Blvd 48-440 Prairie Drive
Thermal, CA 92274 Palm Desert, CA 92260
760.399.5191, Fax 760.399.1311 760.399.4474, Fax 760.399.4476

Leja Farms Oasis Date Gardens
52-500 Van Buren Street P.O. Box 757*
Coachella, CA 92236 Thermal, CA 92274
760.398.8702, Fax 760.398.3329 760.399.5665, Fax 760.399.1068

Pack Ryt, Inc Pato's Dream Date Gardens
P.O. Box 728* 60-499 Highway 86
Thermal, CA 92274 Thermal, CA 92274
760.399.5026, Fax 760.399.0093 760.399.5669

SeaView Packing, Inc Shields Date Gardens
P.O. Box 818* 80-225 Highway 111
Coachella, CA 92236 Indio, CA 92201
760.398.8850, Fax 760.398.8851 760.347.0996, Fax 760.342.3288

Sun Date LLC
85-215 Avenue 50
Coachella, CA 92236
760.398.6123, Fax 760.398.3715

New court to reign as ambassadors of Fair

Names, left to right:
Princess Dunyazade: Haley Glass
Queen Scheherazade: Anna Acosta
Princess Jasmine: Mylea Wilson

On Saturday evening, November 20, 2010, the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival held the Queen Scheherazade Scholarship Pageant at the Fairgrounds in Indio. The Fullenwider Auditorium was transformed into a scene out of the 1001 Arabian Nights, as three young women were chosen to represent the Fair as the Queen and her Court.

Eleven young ladies competed for their chance to be crowned queen; scholarship amounts range from $3,000 to $3,500. The ladies were previously interviewed by judges in an elimination round in October and during the Pageant gave a speech in business attire, answered questions in evening gowns and in traditional Arabian costumes. The 2011 court winners are Anna Acosta for Queen Scheherazade, Haley Glass for Princess Dunyazade, and Mylea Wilson for Princess Jasmine.

Anna is in her second year at the College of the Desert where she maintains a 4.0 GPA. She plays softball and aspires to be a nurse after she graduates. A senior at Cathedral City High School, Haley maintains a 4.6 GPA. She serves as public relations representative for the Health Occupations Students of America. Mylea is a senior at Palm Desert High School, where she maintains a 4.9 GPA. She currently competes in a dance and twirl team and plans to attend the University of Southern California next year.

The new Queen and her Court will reign as ambassadors for the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, their duties will include promoting the Fair at various City Council meetings, parades and other special appearances leading up to the Fair, February 18-27, 2010. For more information about the Fair, call 1-800-811-FAIR.
2011 Queen & Princesses | Page 1 of 4 | Legend of Queen Sche

Simple & Elegant Date Cake
Date Cake:
8 oz Butter
8 oz Sugar
4 oz Flour
8 oz Deglet Noor Dates
4 each Eggs
1 tsp Rum Extract
Mix butter and sugar until nice and creamy. Add in eflour, rum extract and dates. Place in a 3"ring pan, baat 350° for about 35 minutes or until golden brown.
8 oz dates
1 quart wate
2 lbs sugar
4 oz balsam
3 oz fresh strab
simmer until reduced by half, add in the balsamic vinegar continue to simmer until thicker; strathrough chinois, cool in ice bath.
Date Chocolate Candy:
2 oz date paste
5 oz pistachio chips
6 oz chocolate chips
Melt chips and add date paste, pour into plastic mold.

Feet in Water, Head in Fire

Date palms are said to thrive with their "feet in water and heads in the sun" because they need plenty of ground water to drink, but high heat and arid weather to produce fruit. Therefore, date palms grow best in hot and arid climates on Earth. more information

Growing and Harvesting Dates

Commercially grown date palms are from offshoots to ensure desired date qualities. The scientific name, Phoenix dactylifera, refers to feather palms that may grow more than 100 feet and live more than 200 years.

Dates ripen in six to seven months, and are harvested from September through December. Date harvesters or palmeros climb up ladders or are lifted by mechanical lifts to either hand pick the fruit, or cut the ripened clusters into containers that vertically shake off the fruit.


Date palms are dioecious - having male and female trees. Females bear the fruit, males produce pollen. Commercial date gardens typically have one male and fifty female trees planted per acre. Natural pollination by wind is not efficient. Hand pollination is one of the oldest agricultural techniques. Mechanical pollination mixes pollen collected from male flowers with a carrier such as flour, and is dusted on just-opened female flower clusters.

Blessing of the Dates

Opening Ceremony & Blessing of the DatesThis important traditional ceremony begins at 9:30 am on Friday, February 18. Prayers for the date palms, the safety of the workers and equipment are included in the ceremony.

the Plate with ~

The Perfect Date

A Chef's Challenge

March 25th, Friday

11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Come and enjoy a mid-day live chef challenge with the perfect luncheon featuring California Dates

Meet Chef Andie Hubka of Cooking with Class

our Emcee

On Saturday morning, Chef Andie will be conducting a chef demonstration

on cooking with

California Dates.

Hernandez Medjool Date farm

LEJA FARMS To order please call
California Dates are loaded with the energy you need...
...the power to win a marathon race
...or to get through a tough day.

California Dates are loaded with potassium. Athletes who tax their bodies to the max know the importance of potassium.

Ounce per ounce, pound per pound, California Dates are one of the best sources of potassium...naturally. California Dates have the explosive energy you want and your body needs.

Where We Grow

* Nelson Brothers
* Vandervoort Date Ranches
* Winterhaven Ranches
* Royal Medjool Date Ranch
* Bard Date Company
* Southwestern Date Growers
* Imperial Date Gardens
* Sun Garden Growers
Contact Our Partners


Imperial Date Gardens
1517 York Road
PO Box 100
Bard, CA 92222

Telephone: (760) 572-0277
Fax: (760) 572-0404
Contact: Gus Nunez
visit our website

Winterhaven Ranch
15621 Computer Lane
Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Telephone: (714) 892-5586
Fax: (714) 893-2161
Email: Chris Nielsen
visit our website

The Beginning...

Winterhaven Ranch was started in the southeastern area of the Bard Valley in 1983 to exclusively grow and market Medjool Dates. It turned out to be a difficult time to start a business in Medjools primarily since there was an excess of Medjool Dates for the level of Medjool Date markets developed at the time.

By 1986 it became apparent that there was an immense untapped market for Medjool dates. Consequently, Winterhaven Ranch initiated an endeavor to expand its groves and in 1988 increased, its production five fold to about 250,000 lbs. of Medjool Dates grown anually.

Marketing efforts were also stepped up to provide Medjool Dates to places where Medjool dates were unknown. Additionally, in 1985, Winterhaven Ranch started using organic growing practices, which consists of using only organic (natural) fertilizers and no chemical pesticides. Winterhaven Ranch became a certified organic grower under California's Organic Code in 1989.

Today, Winterhaven, along with its sister company, Oasis Date Gardens, produces approximately two million pounds of Medjool Dates per year, as well as a host of other date varieties. Markets have been expanded beyond the U.S.; to Canada, Europe, and multiple countries in the Far East as well as many other worldwide markets. In order to achieve growth into new markets, Winterhaven considers product quality and customer service essential.

Winterhaven strives to provide the best quality and customer service in the industry. Quality begins with the application of precise cultural care practices at the beginning of the growing season to the processes used to clean and pack the dates in the packing house. It does not stop there, as the proper storage of Medjool dates is critical to maintain product quality until it reaches the consumer.

Quality is supported by a customer service philosophy that strives to establish long term customer relationships. This is accomplished by providing prompt service to meet the customer needs regarding product availability and other customer requirements. This has allowed Winterhaven to keep their customer's supplied further into the year, which, in turn, maintains product availability to the ultimate consumer.


CHRIS NIELSEN, Phone: (714) 892-5586 Fax: (714) 893-2161

JIM FREIMUTH, Phone: (760) 399-5665, Fax: (760) 399-1068

Address: 15621 Computer Lane, Huntington Beach, California 92649, USA


Please visit our sister company website Oasis Date Gardens at

OASIS DATE GARDENS · 59-111 Grapefruit Blvd. - P.O. Box 757 · Thermal, California 92274 · 1.800.827.8017
© 2003 - 2005 Oasis Date Gardens \

Chopped Medjool Date Salad

* 8 oz. fresh Medjool dates
* 8 oz. mixed greens or romaine lettuce
* 4 oz. crumbled feta, blue or goat cheese
* Vinaigrette dressing (we like raspberry)
* Fresh Ground Pepper

Remove pits from Medjool dates and cut into quarters. Then cut each one more time to yield 8 "cubes" per date. Combine dates with greens, cheese and vinaigrette and toss. Add fresh ground pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Serves 3-4

Savory Medjool Date-Nut Pasta

* 1/2 cup Medjool dates, pitted, chopped
* 8 oz. Spinach leaves, loosely packed
* 4 oz. Toasted chopped walnuts
* 1/3 cup Olive oil
* 1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled (4oz)
* 2 tbsp Lemon juice
* 1 lb. Fettuccini
* 1 Clove garlic, sliced into several pieces
* 1 tbsp Olive oil
* 1 cup Fresh breadcrumbs
* Salt and pepper to taste

Toast the walnuts in a hot pan. Wash the spinach leaves, spin dry and chop. Toss the dates and the spinach leaves together in a large bowl with the walnuts, 1/3-cup olive oil, feta cheese, lemon juice, and pepper. Set aside. In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the garlic slices for about 30 seconds. Remove garlic and add the breadcrumbs to the pan and cook over medium heat until lightly browned. Cook the pasta in salted water until tender, following the directions of the package. Drain. Toss the spinach mixture with the cooked pasta and season to taste. Divide among four to six plates and sprinkle on top with toasted breadcrumbs.

Serves 4-6

Medjool Dates, Apricots and Wild Rice Casserole

* 1 cup Medjool Dates pitted and chopped
* 4 cups Cooked Wild Rice mix (we like brown rice/wild rice mix)
* 1 Onion chopped
* 2 Celery Stalks chopped
* 3 tbsp Butter
* 1 tsp Dried rosemary
* 1 tbsp Dried thyme
* 1 Cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped
* 2/3 cup Diced ham
* 1/2 cup Dried apricots, diced
* 3/4 tsp Salt
* 1/2 tsp Pepper

Cook Wild Rice mix as instructed to yield 4 cups. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté onions and celery in butter on medium high heat for 4-5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in rosemary and thyme and remove from heat. In a large bowl, combine cooked rice with onion-celery herb mixture and add chopped Medjool Dates, apple, apricots and ham. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a buttered 2-quart baking dish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes or until hot.

Serves 6

Medjool Dates, Caramelized Onion Flat Bread

* 3/4 cup Medjool Dates pitted and chopped
* 1 Lg Onion (red or yellow) sliced into thin rings
* 1 tbsp Olive oil
* 1/8 tsp Salt
* 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded (skim or part-skim)
* 1 tsp Dried rosemary
* 2 Med-Lg Pre-made pizza crusts, cut into 4 flat breads (or use flat bread dough)

Coat the bottom of a non-stick sauté the pan with olive oil, and heat on medium high until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes, sprinkle salt over the onions Let cook for 30 minutes to an hour more, stirring every few minutes. Continue to cook and scrape, cook and scrape, until the onions are a rich, browned color. Preheat oven broiler. Sprinkle the cheese over the four flat breads and place under the broiler just until cheese starts to melt (2 -- 4 mins). Then remove from oven and top with the onions, Medjool dates and rosemary, dividing evenly among the flat breads. Place back under the broiler for a couple more minutes until toppings are hot and bread browns slightly. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Medjool Date, Avocado, Kiwi Salsa on Sea Scallops

* 1 cup Medjool Dates pitted and chopped
* 3 Kiwis Peeled and chopped
* 1 avocado, peeled and chopped
* 1/4 cup Red Onion finely chopped
* 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper finely chopped
* 2 tbsp Cilantro leaves
* 1 Jalapeno finely chopped
* 1 tbsp Lemon juice
* 1/2 tsp Salt
* 1/4 tsp Pepper
* 1 tbsp Olive oil
* 1 1/2 Lbs Sea Scallops (approx 18 lg scallops)

Combine Medjool Dates, avocado, kiwi, onion, bell pepper, cilantro, jalapeno, lemon juice 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper in a bowl. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Rinse and pat scallops dry with a paper towel, and sprinkle with remaining salt and paper. Saute scallops in hot oil for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are opaque and lightly browned.Serve with salsa. Garnish with a lemon curl and cilantro leaves if desired.

Serves 6

The Bard Valley Medjool Growers farm throughout the Lower Colorado River Valley extending from 30 miles North of the township of Bard, California, to 60 miles South along the Colorado River
52-500 Van Buren
Coachella, CA 92236
Products Available
12-2.0 LB Deglet Noor Hydrated
12-2.0 LB Deglet Noor Pitted
12-2.0 LB Seeded & Chopped Coated
18-1.5 LB Medjool Medium

15 LB Deglet Noor Hydrated
15 LB Deglet Noor Natural
15 LB Deglet Noor Pitted
15 LB Deglet Noor #2 Pitted

15 LB Medjool Jumbo
15 LB Medjool Large
15 LB Medjool Mixed
15 LB Medjool Choice

15 LB Barhi
15 LB Black
15 LB Honey
15 LB Khadrawi
15 LB Zahidi

30 LB Seeded & Chopped Coated
(Oat Flour/Dry)
40 LB Seeded & Chopped Plain
40 LB Mascerated Milk Shake Mix
(No Pits or Calyx)
20 LB Date Coconut Roll w/ Almond
20 LB Date Almond Roll

In 1986 a handful of Medjool date growers came together to form BVMDGA. Their goal was to establish quality standards for their fruit that would ensure a consistently excellent product for their customers. Over two decades later the association is stronger than ever. The stringent standards for quality have paid off earning Bard Valley Medjools a well deserved reputation for excellence for their flavor, texture and size. BVMDGA members produce 70% of all Medjools in California. A fancy fruit by ANY standards, Medjool dates bring out the gourmet in everyone.
Passion for Medjools

* The Bard Valley Date Growers Association is comprised of family owned, operated Date Gardens that focus strictly on growing "The Fruit of Kings". Medjool dates.
* Due to unique micro-climate in the Bard Valley (located between Phoenix and San Diego) only "The World's Finest" Medjools carry the label of Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers Association.
* Warmed by the ever present sun, nourished by the high water table and adjacency to the Colorado river, there is no better place in the world to grow this timeless delicacy.
* No pesticides or preservatives are used in their growing process!

The Amazing Rescue of the Medjool Date Variety

* In 1927, Dr. Walter Swingle, employed by Bureau of Plant Industry, traveled to Morocco on invitation from the French government. His task was to "save" the expiring Medjool date variety from extinction. A rare disease called Baioudh was decimating their crop. Mr. Swingle extracted what he considered to be 11 offshoots from relatively healthy remaining trees, and brought them back to Southern Nevada for transplanting.
* Amazingly 9 of the 11 offshoots survived the transplanting, and a full seven years later (1934) they were moved to the Coachella Valley in Southern California.
* In 1944, date growing pioneer Stanley Dillman took 24 offshoots from the original 9 surviving Medjool trees and planted them in the Bard Valley.
* Here you see 6 of the original 24 plantings in Bard Valley. Even today, 65 years later, each one of these trees produces an annual yield of over 200 pounds of these incredibly delicious treats.

The Medjool (unknown) of Morocco is known for its unusually large size and it is renowned for its flavor. The Medjool date is a large and dark and can grow to about three inches and even though it is classified as a soft date it is much firmer and more resilient than other soft dates and handles better. The Medjool date made its way to the United States through the United States Department of Agriculture. There was a disease in Morocco that was spreading quickly among the Medjool date palm trees and a Moroccan official gave some shoots to a representative from the USDA which in turn were taken and planted in California. The Medjool is now thriving in California as one of the top varieties of dates.

Date palm trees can yield from about 100 to 300 pounds of dates per tree. One of the most important factors is the amount of water they receive. The date palm can absorb a lot of water. Date palms can also resist very cold weather and have known to survive in subfreezing temperatures. The date palms are usually insect and parasite free, but can be attacked from time to time by fungi and scale insects. The cultivation of dates was very labor intensive and even to date continues to be labor intensive and dangerous. Before planting enormous holes were dug measuring eight feet deep and were eight feet square. Often the holes were dug on hard materials including limestone. The holes were then filled with manure and top soil for about five feet and the remainder was slowly filled around the newly planted date palm tree. The date palm was below ground level, but this allowed for better watering and it provides protection from the hot winds and the sun. Arabs traditionally harvested by cutting the entire cluster, but many American farmers hand picked each individual date as the fruit ripens. Prior to harvesting in many American farms the dates are first prepared by cutting down the amount of fruit on each cluster to allow the air to circulate and permit more uniform ripening of the date. This means that the date will necessarily cost more cultivate and harvest in American farms and will necessarily result in a higher price. Generally speaking imported dates are not as good as American grown dates, because of the more labor intensive cultivating techniques used on American farms, but this is not always the case.

The date palm tree can grow in many different areas, but for the date palm to produce quality fruit it is necessary that the climate be one of very little rain and the climate also needs to be hot. At the same time the date palm requires large amounts of water. In many American farms the fruit from the date palm tree is protected against possible rain, birds and insects by placing a parafined paper bag around the date cluster. This done because of the ease with which rain can ruin dates. There is an opening around the wrapping to permit air to circulate inside the wrapping to allow the dates to ripen properly. In California date farms a bell shaped paper cloak is placed around the fruit. Almost California date farms utilize this technique to protect the date. California grown dates can be seen with this seemingly peculiar wrapping throughout the Coachella Valley. The Medjool Date as well as other varieties is protected using this same technique throughout the Coachella Valley. Upon reaching the final stage and fully ripening the date is no longer as susceptible to rain and humidity. A few date varieties are much more vulnerable to moisture and usually not economical to cultivate and therefore not cultivated on a commercial scale or at all. In the United States the Rhars date is not grown commercially in the United States because of its susceptibility to damage from moisture or rain. Soft dates are much more difficult to handle and cultivate and require extensive care and handling.

Dates can be grown from offshoots and seeds, but are almost always grown from offshoots. The primary reason is that there is a shorten time period to harvest if the date is grown from an off shoot and the date palm from seed rarely has the same qualities as the parent plant. The seed can in fact be used successfully for creating new varieties of dates, but just as it can create a superior variety it can also create an inferior variety.

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