Dates are this week’s Fresh Pick of the Week from the Certified Farmers’ Markets. Right now we have several varieties, including Honey Dates, Empress Dates, Medjool Dates and Barhi Dates. All of them are locally-grown, fresh and delicious.
The Coachella Valley grows about ninety five per cent of the dates that are grown in the United States, and small growers like the ones you’ll find at the markets sell the bulk of their dates locally. That means the dates you buy at the markets are always fresh and at their peak of flavor. They are also pesticide-free, and some are organic.
Everyone knows dates are delicious, but most people don’t realize how nutritious they are – so nutritious, in fact, that some nutritionists call them one of nature’s superfoods. Dates are free of saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium, and contain absolutely no cholesterol. Including them in a daily diet contributes to keeping a heart healthy as well. In fact, Dates are actually certified as heart healthy by the American Heart Association. Dates are also full of antioxidants, contain a variety of minerals (including calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium and potassium), contain only natural sugars, and are a great source of dietary fiber.
Did You Know: Dates are one of the world’s oldest cultivated foods. There is actually archeological evidence in the Middle East (where Dates are thought to have originated) of date cultivation as far back 7000 BCE. Dates were also a favorite of the Pharaohs in ancient Egypt (who ate them, but also used them to make wine!).
Price: $5 per pound and up, depending on the variety.