If your question is not answered here, please contact us!
The harvest begins in mid-August and continues through the end of September.
The webshop opens each September. The exact date is determined by the weather, since temperatures must cool sufficiently for safe transit. This season (2014 harvest), September 8 was the magic day.
Dates are available until they sell out, which varies depending on harvest size. The date cultivar pages (see menu at left) record previous years' sellout dates for each variety. Generally, by late spring the entire harvest is sold out.
If you are in southern California, you can get your dates a couple weeks before the webshop opens (and save the shipping cost) by picking up at a farmers market or at the Ranch.
Date orders are shipped daily (M-F), often the same day that you place your order! U.S. shipments usually arrive within 2 business days in the western states or 3-4 days in other areas. If you have not received your order in 5 business days, please be in touch.
Canadian shipments average 4-10 business days. Timing varies since USPS, Canadian customs, and Canada Post all play a role. Please be in touch if you have not received your order in 10 business days. Because dates are not grown in Canada, the Canadian government charges no duties. Yay!
If you're not from these here parts but will be visiting during the date season, do be in touch a couple weeks in advance, as it may be possible to have dates waiting for you upon your arrival!
What is the difference between Bautista Family Organic Dates and the dates sold in my local grocery store?
They're fresh. Most dates sold in stores are old – many months, or even more than a year old. Bautista Family Organic Dates are always from the current season's harvest, and this freshness is evident in the optimal flavor and texture of the dates.
They're perfectly ripe. Most dates are harvested all at once, which reduces the grower's cost but results in inconsistent quality. Since the dates from even a single bunch mature at different times, the Bautista Family harvests dates from the same bunch in two, often three stages: this requires a far greater amount of work and time commitment, but it ensures that every date is harvested at its the ideal ripeness.
They're organic. The Ranch's date palms have been organically grown from the beginning: more than 100 years ago! The original date farmers registered the property with the state of California as an organic date ranch. The Bautista Family began the organic certification process in 1999; certification was officially awarded in 2002. Bautista Dates are never irradiated.
They're never heated. When packaged dates are pit-less, you can bet that the dates were steamed to remove the seed. Bautista Dates are never steamed or heated. They are offered in their natural pit-in state. (Bautista Medjools that have been pitted by hand, without steaming, are available in season at farmers markets and by special request for mail order, at additional cost.)
They're never frozen. After harvest, Bautista Dates are stored at 42-45°F, maintaining their exceptionally fresh flavor and texture.
They're allergen-free. Bautista Dates are harvested and packed at the date ranch. The packing room is for dates only – no tree nuts, peanuts, gluten, wheat, soy, starch, or anything else (other than the packing materials, of course) comes into contact with the dates.
What's the difference between wet-pack and firm-pack dates, and between "natural" and firm-pack Deglet Noors?
Most date cultivars have a naturally firmer "brother" – the same variety but with lower moisture content, which translates as a firmer textured date. Firm-pack dates are the same high quality as wet-pack – the price difference in the webshop is soley due to lower shipping cost, since more firm-pack dates can fit in the box.
The Canada shop offers only firm-pack dates because longer transit times and customs delays are too challenging for wet-pack dates. If you would really like wet-pack dates anyway and are willing to accept the risk of a customs delay or other uncontrollable transit issue causing some or all of your dates to spoil, email or call the Bautista Family with your special request, and cross your fingers that your risk will be rewarded!
Deglet Noor is a firmer date cultivar which also has two levels of firmness. Deglets are divided between the moister "natural" Deglet and the firm-pack Deglet, which is still fully natural – and is naturally a bit firmer. While grocery store Deglets are often very hard (and are usually somewhat old and have been steamed to remove the seed), all Deglet Noor dates from the Bautista Family are fresh and comparably moister, with the seed intact. If you select a wet-pack sampler that includes Deglet Noor dates and if "natural" Deglets have not yet sold out, you will receive them in your sampler. Since the moister "natural" Deglet Noor harvest is small, this is only way to receive "natural" Deglets. Firm-pack samplers and single variety packs include firm-pack Deglets.
The other firmer variety, Zahidi dates, are not gooey, but are still tender, nutty, delicious dates. Moisture level is consistent throughout the Zahidi harvest. Thus, all Zahidi dates (in samplers or in single variety packs) are firm-pack.
We think that experiencing the unique flavors and textures of each cultivar is a big part of the joy and the culinary experience of fresh dates. So, a sampler is a great place to start.
If you are craving the most indulgent, gooey goodness, go for Khadrawy, Medjool, Honey, and Halawy. Khadrawy dates are always the gooeyest and the sweetest. Barhi dates, when in the ripened rutab stage, are very soft (so soft that they can be shipped only before they soften, by special request). Wet-pack dates will best satisfy your love for gooey texture, though firm-packs of those varieties are quite soft also (moister than most grocery dates, for example), and offer advantages like lower cost, longer shelf life, and snackability without sticky fingers!
If you appreciate subtler sweetness, Deglet Noor and Zahidi may warm your heart. Each offers its own version of nuttiness, sophistication, and a light sweetness that can play in desserts as well as savory preparations. Halve them for a salad, stir slices into oatmeal, sprinkle bits on top of ice cream, replace the seed with an almond or dollop of cream cheese – Deglet Noor and Zahidi offer great versatility and flavor. Unless you are playing it exclusive with the gooey varieties, you just may find a friend in nutty and sophisticated Deglets and Zahidis. Many gooey date die-hards have been happily surprised by their love for Deglets and Zahidis.
These natural, untreated dates are beloved as a staple food (and treat!) for raw fooders, many of whom regularly purchase over 100 pounds at a time! Date palms produce fruit only in the desert's extreme temperatures, in intense sunshine that occasionally exceeds 120 degrees. If you define the raw threshold as 118°, any date may be a little too hot for you!
Refrigerator or freezer storage is recommended for all fresh dates (except yellow Barhis).
Wet-pack dates can be kept for many months when stored optimally, and firmer dates can last even longer. At the Bautista Family Organic Date Ranch, dates are stored in 42-45°F walk-in coolers from harvest through sellout.
Because dates keep so well with refrigeration, most people will finishing their dates long before there would ever be a problem with spoilage. We recommend freezing any dates that won't be eaten within a couple of months. Due to their sugar content, dates do not freeze solid and can be enjoyed straight out of the freezer.
Air-tight storage will most effectively prevent moisture loss, though many of us devour our dates at such a pace that storage in an open container or in the shipping box, is, uh, not a concern. For best moisture and texture, buy dates at the speed that you eat them, rather than ordering several boxes at a time.
In cool weather, unrefrigerated fresh dates are usually okay for a few days. If your dates will be out for a longer period of time, such as while you are traveling or backpacking, keep them away from sun, heat, and humidity. Additionally, choose one of the firmer varieties, Deglet Noor or Zahidi, for best keeping qualities, or at least go with a firm-pack of any variety for longer shelf-stability compared to wet-pack dates. Allowing your dates to breathe in a vented package will also help.
Since demand exceeds supply, we no longer send announcements for availability or impending sellout. If you're wondering when the webshop will open or how long a variety may be available, here are a few tips.
In response to the crazy popularity of 7HOTDATES, the Bautista Family has been planting more palms each year so that every date fan can savor this special fruit!
Bautista dates are not irradiated. Radiation of organic produce is prohibited by federal law Section 205.105(f). The EPA states the same here. Other websites, including Whole Foods Market and the nonprofit organic farming association NOFA, discuss it also.
The date ranch has been organic for over 100 years and certified organic since 2002. Thus, irradiation of Bautista dates is prohibited, and this is a family that cares deeply about the quality and healthfulness of their fruit – they would never irradiate. Additionally, they grow and pack all of their own dates – so, there is no outside packing company, for example, that could be irradiating. Bautista dates are at the Ranch until they are delivered to the mail carrier or sold at the farmers market.
Could the dates be irradiated by USPS? Perhaps if they were being sent to a government office, as that is the only condition under which USPS irradiates mail (which they must then label as irradiated). Chances are, this narrow set of circumstances has never applied to a box of dates, but as another prevention measure, every box of Bautista dates bears a sticker:
DO NOT IRRADIATE. Federal Law, Volume 65, Section 205.105(f) prohibits irradiation of organic products. Section 205.661(g)(1) states that Civil Penalties of up to $10,000 per violation may apply.
Are dates healthy? How many calories are in a date? Are dates safe for diabetics?
Please see Nutrition.
Can I pay with EBT / food stamps?
Yes, at every farmers market! You can use your EBT card at the market management stand to purchase tokens/scrip.
Unfortunately the USDA does not allow us to accept food stamps for online purchases. (Eligibility requires selling multiple types of foods/produce, and we sell only dates.)
Do you advertise, have an affiliate program, or offer wholesale pricing?
Since Bautista dates sell out each season without promotion, we do not advertise, offer an affiliate program, do giveaways, send samples for review, or offer wholesale pricing what is available in the webshop. For the lowest cost per pound, go for the 15 lb. (USA) and 16 lb. (CAN) packs.
Great idea! You can send as many gifts as you'd like! Be sure to place each gift order separately.
Your gift box will be packed with a festive red cellophane interior wrapper and a gift card with your personalized message.
Here's how to do it:
- Add a box of dates to your cart. If your recipient is in the 50 states, order from the USA store. If your recipient is in the Great White North, be sure to select from the CAN shop.
- Click the Continue Shopping button. Under the gift box illustration, type in your gift card message, then click Add to Cart.
- Checkout, and add your recipient's address. In the Shipping Address section, look for the little blue Add link next to "Enter the name/address of gift recipient" and type in the name and address. The Bautista Family will mail your dates right away unless you specify otherwise. Feel free to add a desired delivery date or any other special instructions here, along with the address.
- Your giftee's box will be marked with "Keep refrigerated," but you may consider following up with your giftee about storage, especially if the box may not be opened immediately.