We spoke with Alicia Gonzalez, office coordinator + family member of Bautista Family Farms. Their 7 Hot Dates, are the best we’ve ever tasted, and we’re not alone in saying that. We found out why their dates are so incredibly delicious, the best (and only) time of year you can buy fresh dates, and why date farmers love to be outside when everyone else wants to be indoors.
Why are your dates the best?
I believe our dates are the best because we harvest them as soon as they’re ripe, and don’t let me dry out to to much. Our dates are always fresh from the current season’s harvest. Also, we harvest in two or three stages which does require a far greater amount of work and time commitment, but it ensures that every date is harvested at its the ideal ripeness. And they’re organic!
How long do dates usually last?
Refrigerated dates last up to one year. Frozen dates last up to five years. And they should be stored in air tight containers.
Do you harvest dates all year round?
We harvest for 3 months, August, September and October, and dates are available until they sell out, which varies depending on harvest size. Generally, by late spring our entire harvest is sold out. (Don’t wait to get yours!)
The Wendler’s, who we took over the ranch from, were organic. My dad decided to keep all the same practices. We are now registered and certified organic. It is good for the land, customers and environment.
People say you shouldn’t work with family. Would you agree?
No, I don’t agree. We been working since 1999 and we are growing as a company and also as a family. We have had issues like any other company and family, but we always find a way to solve them. And one of the benefits of working with family is I can adjust my hours to be home with my kids when they are back from school.
What is the most challenging thing about growing dates?
The most challenging thing about growing dates is the weather. Palm trees need hot weather to produce the dates, but it is very hot for the humans. It gets up to 120 degrees sometimes (that’s 48 degrees celsius for us Canadians, hot!). Also, the pollination is very important and has to be done on time.
How do you clean and package your dates?
Do you sell more online or at markets?
What date sells out first?
What’s your favorite variety?
My favorite variety is the Medjool and Khadrawy. My brother’s favorite is the Halawy, and my sister’s the Deglet Noor : ) (If you’re not sure which to try, these sampler packs are a great way to try them all. My favourites are the Medjool, Halawy and Khadrawy – I order them 15 pounds at a time!))
For more information or to place an order, visit 7hotdates.com.