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Feb 7, 2012 03:12 AM

Where to find fresh (non-processed) dates in SF?

While living in Sacramento, Corti Brothers grocers had organic, fresh, unprocessed dates from local growers for sale. They were Medjool dates that were incredibly moist and easy to chew; the explanation the grocers gave me for their texture and taste was that most dates undergo a process to pull out some of the moisture, increasing their longevity, but of course this makes them more hard & sticky. The unprocessed ones had to be refrigerated, but were by far the best dates I have ever tasted.

I'm curious if this type of date is to be found in San Francisco? I live near 10th & Harrison (Rainbow doesn't have them, I've checked), but am willing to travel to find them.


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  1. Hadn't heard this before...always assumed that the ones at the farmer's markets (there's usually only one date vendor) were naturally dried but otherwise unprocessed. The exception is when they carry pitted dates that are specifically pumped full of water to facilitate easier pitting. I've never had problems with spoilage with any of their dates and never put them in the fridge...however, I also typically eat them all well before any microbes can go to town on them. :)

    Their medjool dates are pretty soft compared to what you get in the supermarket, but they certainly have drier varieties like deglet noors. They also often have a yellow date variety that is sold on the vine, allowing you to dry/ripen them yourself at home. I'd be really surprised if these at least undergo any processing. In any case you are certainly close enough to UN Plaza to run by them on a Wednesday or Sunday and ask.

    ps: when you say "local" dates in Sacramento, how are you defining local? My understanding was that even the Central Valley is not suited to growing dates and only the extremely hot and arid area around Coachella is where they're cultivated.

    1. I have gotten fresh dates at one of the farmers market but can't for the life of me remember where. Ask at the date farmer at you local farmers market, they are available. I have also found fresh Barhis still on the strand at Berkeley Bowl.

      1. I've seen them at the Alemany Farmers market. I can't speak to whether they are organic or not, and I only saw them when they were in season... not sure when that was.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hyperbowler

          Yes, the date man at Alemany always has some fresh dates. He has exceptional grapefruit too, and great prices. They're from way south.

          And I believe he's also at Civic Center.

          1. re: Windy

            He's great! Yes, the same guy sells dates at both Alemany and Civic Center/Heart of the City market.

            They don't have a sign and it's difficult to track down the name of his stand--it's listed on Local Forage as Palm Springs Desert Gold, but he's the only date vendor at either market. The Flying Disc dates I've had from FPFM have been a bit more juicy, but the prices are better at the CC/Alemany vendor, and the guy is terribly sweet, much like his product. I think he's only at Civic Center on Wednesdays, not there for the Sunday market.

        2. Flying Disc ranch sells at Ferry Plaza farmer's market, Marin Farmer's market and Berkeley farmer's market. Medjool are the softest of the dates. As the season ends and they dry out, they get harder and stickier. They aren't processed, they just dry out naturally. They are at their freshest in the winter months.

          5 Replies
          1. re: wally

            Flying Disc sometimes sells literally fresh (as in not dried at all) dates when they're harvesting (September through November). The ones I've tried had an odd texture and were sort of bland, interesting but not to my taste delicious like they are when dried. I'm not sure I'd have known they were dates if someone just gave me one blind.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Yes, they sell the Barhi dates on branches. Not really addictive to me nor my date loving friends.

              1. re: wally

                Barhis will taste different at different stages just like the rest. When they get to a softer stage, they are outstanding. Among my pals they are the preferred date in texture (softest of all dates) and taste. This post made me curious about the ripening stages. It actually doesn't sound as if OP is talking about fresh as in khalal and instead may be looking for dates that are just beyond fresh when they first start to soften?

                1. re: rubadubgdub

                  I have eaten them at all stages. They also seem to be less sweet than Deglet noor or Medjool. I was confused when the OP posted because I don't think I have ever had a "processed" date.

                  1. re: wally

                    Ah yes. I prefer Barhis because they are less sweet but also because they remain very soft as time marches on. I find Medjools a bit cloying for my taste.