Sweet, juicy, and beautifully packaged online dates. Sound too good to be true? Maybe…if you’re swiping left or right, or scrolling through a virtual minefield of potential mates. But I’m talking about nutritious, farm-fresh Medjool dates available online. These are the dates you definitely want to bring home to friends and family this holiday season.
My friend Joan Smith and her family own a little piece of land in the Coachella Valley region of the California desert. Joan has been traveling out there for years, with her husband Craig and their three children, to spend a little time in nature. Craig hunts during the duck hunting season, and Joan used to spend her time making food for the hunters, harvesting dates from the four date palms on the property, and tending to the small citrus orchard.
The Coachella Valley is the date growing capital of the United States.
And Joan quickly discovered that nearby farmers had hundreds of date palms and dozens of varieties of dates — ranging vastly in their sweet, nutty, caramel flavor profiles. She also realized that the dates from her property were especially fresh and delicious. She began bringing boxes home to friends and a few local restaurant owners here in Orange County.
These dates were not like the tough, chewy, dry variety that I was accustomed to buying at the local grocery store. They were a whole different beast, succulent and juicy…a candy-like delicacy that impressed even those who thought that maybe they didn’t like dates. They were scrumptious.
Joan decided she wanted to be a date farmer.
Two years later, Joan has planted 140 more date palms on her farm. She has learned how to amend salty soil, how to irrigate a desert crop, and how to harvest the most delicious dates that California has to offer.
These dates, quite frankly, kick ass.
Rancho Meladuco Date Farm is a family-run inspiration. It is a feel-good story of one Orange County mom following her dream and creating a product that will knock your culinary socks off.
I have had the pleasure of visiting her date farm…and watching her soar. She has worked with amazing designers to create beautiful packaging and sent her dates to magazines and famous chefs across the country. Joan is knocking on doors, making phone calls, and making it happen.
In fact, she just opened The Date Shop in Newport Beach. If you are in Orange County, pop in and have a seat on a vintage sofa, visit with Joan, sample a date, and buy a few boxes.
Why eat dates? According to Dr. Axe, Medjool dates are the healthiest sugar alternative, and they:
- Decrease cholesterol
- Prevent and relieve constipation
- Provide a natural energy boost
- Reduce triglyceride levels
- Make a great alternative sweetener
- Boost bone health
Here are my absolute favorite top ten ways to enjoy a delicious Rancho Meladuco pitted Medjool date:
- Dipped in almond butter.
- Stuffed with a walnut.
- Just plain.
- Wrapped in bacon then pan or oven-fried.
- As a potluck appetizer: Bacon Wrapped Dates with Marcona Almonds
- As a guilt-free dessert: Vegan Salted Caramel Pecan Bliss Bites!
- In homemade granola bars: 5-ingredient Granola Bars
- Chunky Date Granola (sub coconut oil for butter to make it dairy free)
- Chopped and added into a big green salad
- Blended into a Green Smoothie
I hope this little post inspires you to try a date if you have never tried one. My friend Joan truly inspires me, and I am a big fan of her passion and her product.