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Importing the Perfect Date

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

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

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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)

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

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

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


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