New! The Heirloom Variety Box – Rare and Unusual Dates


For the date connoisseurs and curious date fans alike we offer our new Heirloom Series featuring rare and unusual date varieties!

Expand your repertoire of dates and explore the delicious range of unique flavors, textures and sizes found among dozens of date varieties cultivated in California.

Available in Assorted Medley and, when available, Single Variety.  To read about the History of Dates and our Heirloom varieties scroll down to the descriptions below.

Contains: 2 pounds whole unpitted dates.

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Abada – New World.  Found in riverbed near Brawley California.  Long black date, less sweet, molasses and malt flavor.

Amir Hajj – Old World.  Small, delicate.  Classic date flavor, with a hint of pumpkin pie.  Originally from Iraq.

Barhi – Old World.  Small, round, rich caramel flavor.  Soft and melting.  Originally from Iraq.

Dayri – Old World.  Large, reddish brown.  Fruit and plum flavor.  Originally from Iraq.

Empress – New World.  California seedling.  Large, unique.  Rich flavor with a pale “crown.”

Halawi – Old World.  A medium sized date, creamy texture with a pleasing buttery vanilla brown sugar flavor. Some have compared the flavor to pecan pie. We would agree. Originally from Iraq, the name Halawi means “sweet” in Arabic.

Honey – New World.  Seedling from Cathedral City, California.  Small, honey flavor.

Khadrawy – Old World.  Rich caramel flavor, softer and sweeter than Medjool.  Originally from Iraq.

Khalas – Old World.  A mediums sized date, sweet, soft, classic date flavor.  Highly regarded.  Originally from the Arabian Peninsula.

Mariana – New World.  Seedling from Indio, California credited to Doug Adair (Pato’s Date Gardens).  Large date with tropical flavors, hint of butterscotch and pineapple.

Riley – New World.  Seedling from Indio, California credited to Arthur Futterman.  Small black date, delicious.

Tarbazal – New World.  Seedling from Mecca California.  Large, soft and delicious.

Examples of different date varieties grown in California.  Clockwise from upper left: Dayri, Tarbazal, Khadrawi, Seedling, Deglet Noor, Barhi. Center: Medjool


Dates have been cultivated for over 5,000 years, with thousands of varieties found globally.  Nutrient-dense and naturally sweet, they vary by flavor, texture, color, and size. Though Medjool and Deglet Noor are the most well known, there are countless others to explore, including unusual heirlooms. 

Each distinct date that exists today originated from a single seed.  Date varieties can’t be replicated by seed, so each palm that springs forth from a seed yields a potentially new date variety.  Over time these seedlings, either cultivated or found, were carefully tended, their offshoots removed and transplanted to replicate the original palm and its fruit.  Named and nurtured, these palms yield the vast assortment of dates enjoyed worldwide today.  

The vast majority of known varieties originated in the Middle East. However dozens of American varieties also exist. These American seedlings, many of which were found growing in the wild around the desert regions of Southern California and Arizona, were cultivated by early pioneers in the US date industry. However there is little to no commercial production of these varieties today save for the handful of local farms who keep these heirloom varieties going.  As date farming in the United States becomes more commercially oriented, types such as Medjool and Deglet Noor are being favored, leaving many heirloom varieties at risk of extinction. Our Heirloom Series is devoted to preserving and celebrating these treasures. 

At present, Rancho Meladuco Date Farm grows over two dozen varieties, with more added each year, both from our own farm and sourced from other growers. Each date has its own story, as reflected on this box, which is filled with an assortment that varies seasonally and by availability. From time to time, we may even include dates from a single tree – nearly forgotten on a partner farmer’s ranch and of an unnamed variety.  Even the nameless dates are cherished at Rancho Meladuco Date Farm.  

Date Seed Planting Instructions

Gather these items:

  • Small jar with lid (at least 3 inch in diameter) or 1 Qt ziplock bag
  • 2-3 Clean date seeds (rinse well after removing from date)
  • Peat pod discs (included with purchase)

Place enclosed peat disc in small bowl with one half cup of water.  Remove when fully engorged.

Place peat pod upright in the jar or bag.  Be sure mesh opening is on top.

Push clean date seed in opening on top of peat pod.  Add about ¼ inch of water to jar or bag.  Seal closed.

Place in warm location with indirect light (not direct sunlight).

In 4-6 weeks the seed will sprout a root and a single green leaf.  Transplant peat pod to small pot and place in sunny location and water as needed.

Date palms seedlings will bear flowers in 8-9 years and will be either a male or female date palm.  Only female palms bear fruit when pollinated.


Additional information

Weight N/A
Dimensions N/A

Halawi, Barhi, Assorted Medley


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