You betcha! Especially if she visited Yuma today for the Date Festival. So that’s just what I did.
Along with hundreds of other people. It was packed. Not my favorite thing, and this was fairly early. Not early enough though. I had hoped to take a farm tour or date packaging tour, but all spots were sold out in less than an hour. Shucks!
Unlike most of the nation, it’s still hot down here (by my standards). Main street in Yuma was blocked off for the celebration, and vendors set up along the street. People walked on the hot pavement of the street. A couple of things perplexed me. First, I wondered why people would bring their dogs to this venue? That black dog in the photo was panting like crazy. Do dogs eat dates? It was a hot day for a black dog.
Secondly, I wondered what things like tamales and foot long NY Italian sausages had to do with dates? I guess I’m naïve, but I expected a date festival to be all about dates.
I was happy to see there were several date vendors though. I even bought a pound and a half bag of Medjool dates for $5. Not fancy ones like these, but I wanted some to use to make my own date bars. One of my fondest food memories is of the delicious date bars that Ackerman’s Bakery used to make when I was a kid in Chicago.
I was hoping to find a recipe for those date bars, so I stopped to listen to a date cooking demonstration put on by the teachers (chefs) and students from Arizona Western College. I did end up with quite a few recipes for dates, but not for the kind of bars I was hoping for.
The cooking demonstration also included being able to taste what the students made. Everything’s better with bacon, right? They were trying to demonstrate how dates can be used in almost any dish. I thought this was the best part of the whole festival, but I’m not sure if they toasted the sliced French baguette or just let it dry out in the Arizona sun. I did learn something though, so here’s your date trivia fact for the day: dates only grow where there are at least 100 days of temperatures at or above 100* per year. Now that’s hot for a long time!
On my way home, I stopped at a farm stand that opened up this week. The produce is fresh and quite a bit cheaper than the grocery stores. Among other things, I bought what I thought was a cantaloupe for $1.75. It appeared to be perfectly ripe with the background to the webbing on the skin a pale yellow color. Do you know what I mean? Well, when I got it home, I was shocked to find the flesh of the melon was white to pale green, kind of like a honey dew melon. Honey dews, to my knowledge, have a smooth rind with no webbing. So I have no idea what kind of melon this is. Anyone got any idea? Whatever it is, chunks of it are going into my lunch bucket for the next three days at work.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy