This is the SHOP FAQ. Do take a look at the general FAQ also!
The shop opens each year in September. The exact opening date is determined by the weather, since temperatures must cool sufficiently for safe transit. This year (2014), we expect a September 8 or September 15 opening.
Dates are available until they sell out. The date cultivar pages (see menu at left) record historical sell-out 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.
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'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 web shop is soley due to reduced shipping cost, since firm-pack dates can be packed more tightly.
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!
The firmer cultivar Deglet Noor also has two levels of firmness. Deglets are divided between the moister "natural" Deglet and firm-pack, which is still fully natural – and is naturally a bit firmer. While grocery store Deglets are often very hard (and are usually 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 wonderful firmer variety, Zahidi, are not gooey, but are still tender, nutty, delicious dates. Moisture level is consistent throughout the 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. 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 with both sweet and 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, we think you'll enjoy your nutty and sophisticated Deglets and Zahidis. Many gooey date die-hards have been happily surprised by their love for Deglets and Zahidis.
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. The timing is somewhat unpredictable, since USPS, Canadian customs, and Canada Post all play a role. If you have not received your order in 10 business days, please be in touch.
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.