Saturday, February 14, 2015

On my way over to the date farm, I pass acre upon acre of what is clearly premium, fertile agricultural land.  I learn later, just how fertile this land really is.  A whopping 90% of our nation's leafy vegetables are grown here between the months of November and March.  Because this area has long standing water rights and 350+ days of sunshine each year, Yuma County is the third largest vegetable producer in the United States.

Veggies aren't the only crop they're known for.  Conditions are perfect for Medjool dates, and nowhere else in the world produces more.

As I drive on up, I notice an open air shuttle bus, advertising farm tours.  I step inside the country store and learn they have room for 20 passengers with 19 seats already filled by migrating Canadians.  Wahoo! I'm their "sold out".  
With 20 minutes to kill, I visit the cafe and hear someone ordering a date shake.  I make like a hound dog and follow that order around to the gal in the back who holds the scoop.   With puppy dog eyes, I ask if she wouldn't mind making just a wee bit more for a sample. A minute later I'm raising a spoonful of the date infused goodness to my snout.  Rich and creamy, one spoonful satisfies a wagging tail.

I wander around the store and begin to realize just how much there is to learn about dates.  According to Martha:

Dates have 7 different levels of grading.  Unlike maple syrup, grading is based upon quality as well as size.

Dates have anti-oxidant levels that are higher than those found in blueberries and pomegranates.

There is more potassium in 5 dates (100 grams) than there is in one large banana.

Jumbos are the Great Dane
in the date world

With my in-class learning just about complete, it's time for field training which is scheduled to last  1.5 hours.  Really?  There's that much to learn about dates?  Yep, and I'll give you the cliff notes version next.

1 comment:

  1. Great! You are back!! Love those dates. Buster used to buy big bunches when he worked down there. What we get up here in packages only vaguely represent what he brought home. love, aunt judy