Israeli Medjool date growers are reporting good volumes this season as well as large sizes. Though the premium prices Israeli Medjool command has tempted some of the country's pepper growers (who have suffered through several seasons of very bad returns) to get into the Medjool business, worldwide volumes of Medjool are such that it's unlikely additional growers will flood the market and tank prices.
“Quality is especially good on the big sizes,” says Dagul. “There is no skin separation and moisture is exactly as it needs to be.” Excellent quality is one of the hallmarks of Israeli Medjool dates, and according to Dagul, it differentiates the product from that grown in other countries. For that reason Israeli exporters are mainly competing against one another.
Annual production of Medjool dates in Israel is about 27,000 tons, and it's about 40,000 tons for the entire world,” notes Avi Dagul of Field Produce Marketing. “These are still very small quantities, so even if you double production, I don't believe there will be too much on the market. So I think we still have enough time to get good results and have a good market while we increase quantities.” This season is expected to be another good one, adds Dagul, due to the quality of dates that are currently being shipped.
Western and central Europe is the market's lion share, followed by the United States,” says Dagul. “Then come Russia and Turkey, and we are currently exploring Asian markets as well." In fact, just a few weeks ago, our Medjool was selected by one of the largest food chains in Taiwan to star in the first Israeli Food festival held in Taipei. The vibes were extremely positive and we expect this cooperation to progress."
"At the moment," says Dagul, "about 70 percent of the sorting and collecting for the season is done, and it's expected that the last part of it will take place around the end of February."
Originally published: Fresh Plaza Website, Dec 21' 2015.