Natural Delights Medjool Dates Blogger Summit

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Hi, friends!

The Natural Delights Medjool Dates Blogger Summit was such a great time! Medjool dates are some of the most simple yet interesting fruits out there, and I can’t wait to tell you guys all about them! I actually have quite a lot to tell you about this trip, so I decided to highlight my absolute favorite parts. Ok, here we go!

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Visiting the “Big Six”

The “Big Six” started it all! All of the Medjool date palms in Yuma started from these six plants. They were brought to the US from Morocco in the 1940s.

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Other fun facts about Medjool date trees:

  • They grow approximately 1-3 feet per year and you can gauge their age by their height.
  • It takes seven years for a new tree to bear fruit.
  • Growing Medjool dates is quite the labor of love: Each female tree is hand-pollinated, workers climb up and down each tree anywhere from 13 to 18 times per season for a number of different reasons (i.e. thinning, bagging, picking), and the actual dates are picked by hand from hanging bags (no machines are involved).
  • The orchards in Yuma produce about 25 million pounds of Medjool dates each year.

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Harvesting Medjool dates

This was so fun, and I loved having a first-hand experience with the harvesting part of growing Medjool dates.

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Once we were harnessed (safety first!), we rode a machine up into a nearby palm to harvest dates.

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You actually don’t pick the dates, but instead you shake a hanging mesh bag and the ripe ones fall off into it.

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Workers do this for thousands of bags multiple times throughout the season. I’m telling ya, growing Medjool dates is most definitely a labor of love!

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Learning about Medjool dates

More fun facts about Medjool dates:

  • They’re considered a fresh fruit, which is why you often find them in the produce section of the grocery store. They are not dried fruit. They are also not processed.
  • Medjool dates ripen from the bottom (photo below).
  • If you see a Medjool date with white residue on the outside, it’s their natural sugars making their way out. If you don’t like the way it looks, just use a damp paper towel to wipe it off.
  • Medjool dates are 100% free of pesticides, herbicides, and technically grown organic. (They don’t have the USDA certification, but the growing practices are inline with what is required.)

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Fresh Medjool dates also taste incredible right off the tree. They’re soft, sweet, and practically melt in your mouth!

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Painting Medjool date trees

This was such a fun activity to do together! We spent the afternoon sipping mimosas, snacking on Medjool dates (of course), and putting our artistic skills to work.

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Vietnamese Spring Rolls from River City Grill

During our lunch at River City Grill, we enjoyed these incredible Vietnamese Spring Rolls made with Medjool dates, fresh mint, rice noodles, and a spicy peanut sauce. I absolutely loved them and could probably eat them everyday.

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Getting to know the growers

What I loved most about this Summit was our constant access to the Medjool date growers. They were invited to pretty much all of our events, so we had tons of opportunities to get to know them and ask questions. It was such an easy, carefree way to learn more about Medjool dates and the people who grow them.

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Touring “Datepac”

Touring “Datepac,” where the Medjool dates are packaged and distributed, was such a cool experience.

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The dates are sorted 3 different times by hand to make sure the best ones are selected for packaging.

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And, for this reason, many of the workers don’t wear gloves just so they can get a good feel for each date. Isn’t that amazing? You definitely know you’re getting a high-quality product!

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Eating Pumpkin Spice Date Rolls

Not surprisingly, it was love at first taste with the Pumpkin Spice flavor, but I love the Dark Chocolate Orange even more. YOU NEED TO TRY THEM!

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Finale dinner in the Date Gardens

Oh my goodness, the finale dinner in the Date Gardens was epic. What a way to conclude the Summit!

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The entire meal was phenomenal, but I especially loved the salad made with agave-date vinaigrette and candied pecans (pictured below). The Kahlua Date Frappe for dessert was incredible too (obviously)!

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It was definitely a special night and one that I will never forget.

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Kayaking on the Colorado River

Kayaking was such a blast and totally right up my alley. Outdoor activity? Yes, sign me up!

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I partnered up with Brittany and enjoyed talking about all things blogging/health coaching/decorating. She’s the best.

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All in all, the Natural Delights Medjool Date Blogger Summit was a fabulous trip. It was so well-organized, and I loved the group of bloggers that was invited. Many of our blogs were quite different in subject matter and content, but we all bonded over our shared love for Medjool dates and had a wonderful time together.

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A huge thank you to Natural Delights for inviting me to their Medjool Date Summit! It was definitely a one-in-a-lifetime experience, and I am so thankful for the opportunity.

Questions of the Day

What’s your favorite way to enjoy Medjool dates? Any fun recipes to share?

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37 Comments

  1. What gorgeous pictures! That summit looks like a lot of fun! I absolutely love date bars, and they’re surprisingly easy to make yourself, without a recipe 😀 Just blend dates, nuts, dried fruit in a blender or food processor, lay them out of a cookie tray and voila! 😀 Turn out fantastic time 😉
    And hommade date ice cream is also phenomenal. Too bad ice cream makers are over $300! 🙁

  2. Your pictures are great! They brought back many wonderful memories about the trip. It was awesome meeting you and the other lovely gals. I like to pop Medjools in my smoothies and I love to make my grandmother’s date squares recipe with them (I veganized it). But the trip really opened me up to the possibilities of doing more with my Medjool dates in terms of dinner recipes and salads!

    Jo

  3. What a great trip! It is so interesting to learn about how dates are grown and harvested – I had no idea it was such a labour of love. Sure makes me appreciate the convenience of buying them at the store!

  4. This was such a great informative post Tina – Thank you
    I had no idea where dates came from, how they grow etc. who knew?? lol
    I am now going to read everyone else’s and maybe pick up another great blogger that I love to read.
    xoxoxox

  5. I always buy certified organic dates, but that I know medjool dates are pesticide free, I’m excited to give them a try.

    My absolute favorite way to eat dates is with bacon or thinly sliced prosciutto. The sweet-salty-chewy-fatty combination is incredible. I highly recommend it as an easy crowd pleasing appetizer.

  6. Yep, when you posted a sneak peak a week or so ago about your trip I bought some and added them to my homemade granola bars.
    I’m thinking they must have some fiber in them too, right? Something’s helping in that department anyway…maybe “dates minus cheese diet” makes for a speedy digestive system? ha!
    Thanks for the detailed trip post….fascinating!

  7. I will be adding Dates to my costco list this weekend. BTW you have the BEST blog. I luv it. !! Did you enjoy the big brother ending ? I was hoping for James or J-Mac to win, but the ending was sweet for me.

  8. This is so cool!! I want to eat fresh dates off the tree. I already shared my brownie recipe but dates make the perfect raw no bake pie crust. All you need are dates and nuts, put that into a food processor and press into pie plate, fill with anything your heart desires. Healthy and delicious. I like to add ginger and dried coconut too, depending on what the filling is.

  9. I have never had a date before! Never noticed them in the stores here – are they seasonal or available all year? I keep asking different people in the produce area hoping someone would know something….no luck so far.

  10. Wow, that looks really fun! I <3 dates for their sweetness and that you can use them for almost any kind of dessert if someone can't have sugar or if you want to do more natural sugars. 🙂 The harvesting process looks kind of fun!

  11. DatePac/Natural Delights is a great company and glad to see them promoting via a blogger summit. They own 74% of the date market share in the U.S. and for good reason…great medjool dates. As for stuffed dates…best choice by far is Traders JOEs Speculoos cookie butter. Stuff is sinful and addicting!

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