Skip to content

Importing the Perfect Date

Click thumbnail for high-resolution image


Khistawi dates, prized for their sweet, syrupy taste, are grown primarily around Diyala, Karbala and Basra. (Courtesy of Zahir Whaib)


Date production has historically been a primary source of employment for Iraqis. (Courtesy of Zahir Whaib)


Matt Nussbaum (second from right) in an olive orchard in central Jordan with farmhands and Mohammad Al Jazy (right), who exports oive oil to the U.S. (Courtesy of Matt Nussbaum)


Date palm saplings brought from Iraq helped jump-start the California date industry in the 1930s. (Courtesy of the California Date Administrative Committee)


Farms in California's Coachella Valley produce about 36 million to 38 million pounds of dates annually. (Courtesy of the California Date Administrative Committee)

Click for text-only story

What has Iraq got that the U.S. doesn’t? The world’s most coveted dates. Two men are fighting to bring them here.