Dates are one of the best foods for human health.
Foto from a modern dates orchard.
The famed Medjool date was introduced into the Bard Valley in 1948. A disease process called the bayoud disease had devastated the Mejool population in its native Morocco for several decades beginning around 1870.
In early 1927, Dr. Walter Swingle from the U.S. Department of Agriculture traveled to Morocco to evaluate the disease killing the Medjools. Based on what Dr. Swingle and his colleaguesfound, he made a decision to purchase and import 11 offshoots taken from a single female palm from Morocco in 1927.
After arrival into the U.S., these offshoots were planted under quarantine conditions in Nevada for purposes of evaluation. In 1936, the 9 remaining palms and their offshoots were released from the USDA quarantine and were re-planted at the USDA date station in Indio, California. Several years later, the offshoots from these palms were removed and distributed to a few growers. Five or more years later, quality Medjools began to be harvested.
Of the estimated 3000 varieties of date grown worldwide, Medjool dates are one of the most popular date varieties in the United States, as well as in many parts of the world. Because of its desirable texture and flavor, the Mejdool was routinely reserved for royalty in the Middle East, and Medjools have been referred to as “the most famous date in the world.”