Date palms have been cultivated in the Middle East around 6000 BCE (Alvarez-Mon 2006), and is an important staple food in Middle East, Pakistan, and Northern India. With its concentrated fruit sugars, polyphenols, fiber, potassium, and balanced minerals, dates provide an important source of plant based nutrition, especially in desert areas where most vegetables cannot grow.
Dates are thought to be the world’s first cultivated fruit. Arab travelers and traders then spread the date throughout South West Asia, Northern Africa, Spain, Italy. In 1765 during the Spanish colonization period, Spaniards then brought dates to Mexico and California, planting them around Mission San Ignacio. Today dates are enjoyed around the world for their sweet taste and nutritional value.
Today Coachella Valley is the premier date producing region in California. The sandy soils and hot dry climate is the ideal environment for the date palms to thrive. Date cultivation is a long, labor intensive affair, starting with the planting. Both male and female palms are planted. Then the date palms must be climbed many times a year to remove dead growths. It takes a minimum of 4 years of growth before the palms are ready for pollinating by hand. This hand pollination technique was known since the Babylonian times to improve the crop yield. Once the fruit forms, it takes another 6 months to grow to its full size and ripen. Then they have to be harvested by hand, cleaned, sorted, and stored to dry, which takes several more months of waiting. Soft rotab dates and dried dates are then ready for sale.
There are many varieties of dates, the most well known is the Medjool date, the “king of dates”. It is so nicknamed because kings once reserved these dates for the royal household to enjoy and give as gifts. These creamy textured, tender, chewy dates are the favorites of many.
Here at Orchid Dates, we only pack the finest Medjool dates and soft Rotab Medjool dates for your enjoyment.