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To prolong shelf life, many dates are left on the palm until completely ripe.
Thus they are slightly dry before being harvested; these dates are still considered fresh (Watson, 2015).
The top buyers were Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom (“Fruit and Tree” - ERS, 2018).
In the same market year, the United States imported 76.1 million pounds of fresh dates valued at .5 million, with the majority of imports coming from Tunisia, Israel, and Pakistan. Dates-Deglet Noor, United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release, 2016.
This particular reason is why date palms have grown so well in areas such as the Coachella Valley (Chao & Krueger, 2007). Fruit and Tree Nut Data - Exports/Imports, Purdue University.
In 2017, California produced 35,000 tons of dates from 9,900 acres.
Processed date products can be found through all marketing channels.
Like raisins, dates are naturally sweet, thus they can be easily incorporated into sweet, spicy, or savory dishes (“Food Professionals” - California Date Administrative Committee, n.d.).
Fresh dates are commonly sold local through farm stands, farmers’ markets, specialty grocery stores, and Middle Eastern markets. Selling organic dates, or dates from less grown cultivars such as “Barhi” can add value.
Barhi dates can be eaten either in their unripe state or when fully ripe (Moskin, 2015). Dates can be processed by completely drying them, or they can be made into products such as baked goods (bars, cookies, etc.), concentrate, date pieces, paste, pitted dates, syrup, and more (“Food Professionals” - California Date Administrative Committee, n.d.).
Due to greater consumer awareness of the health benefits of dates, U. Dates have always been an important food source in Middle Eastern communities, and they play a significant role in the Muslim tradition of Ramadan.