Laura Avery met with Alvaro Bautista, owner of Bautista Ranch about his fresh, organic Barhi dates. They are in what is called the Khalal stage. They are crunchy and taste like young coconut or sugar cane. They melt in your mouth like honey. When left to dry on the stalk they will dry out into what we're used to seeing dates look like. Bautista also picks other organic dates like Halawi (Alvaro's favorite) which taste like caramel. The Kadrawi date tastes like pure ground sugar and the Medjools are biggest and often considered the best.
David Karp, the Fruit Detective, tells us about Muscats, which are available at local farmers' markets. Both a table and wine grape, Muscats are eaten all over Europe and are known for their flowery rose-water flavor. The Italia, the table grape of Italy, is a big, round, green/golden fruit. It needs to be dead ripe or amber in color to get to full flavor. The Italia accounts for 90% of the grapes grown there. Farmer Harry Nicolas has this grape now. He's also bringing in a Muscat of Alexandria in the next week or so.
The Melissa muscat, an oval shaped green/amber grape, is available now at Scott Farms. It's named for the daughter of one of the men responsible for cultivating this variety who suffered from a debilitating disease. The company Melissa's Produce has since sued them to change the name of the grape due to copyright infringement and now the grape is called the Princess. (*A sad note, the daughter has recently died.)
David Karp can't believe there are no farmers in California growing the famed Muscat of Hamburg, France's favorite table grape. He's going to pay a farmer to grow them for him in order to reintroduce the variety to the farmers markets.