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Our Story

Welcome to Our Bard Valley Oasis

Medjool dates demand a very specific set of growing conditions where high heat, low humidity and plentiful water meet. Lucky for you, we found the perfect location within a 150-square-mile radius at the intersection of Arizona, California and Mexico.

Bathed in sunshine and nourished by the Colorado River, Bard Valley is home to America's favorite Medjool date.

A Sweet History

Today, Natural Delights® is distributed around the world and is the nation's #1 Medjool Date brand.

  1. 1944-1986

    In 1944, there remained 9 surviving date palms from the 11 original palms that were transplanted from Morocco to stave off extinction.  Six offshoots from those surviving Medjool palms - now known as the original 6 - were transplanted in Bard Valley, CA,  starting what would become the largest Medjool date growing region in the U.S. 

    Almost all of the Medjool date palms in the southwest U.S. can be traced back to the original 6 offshoots.

    a farmer working on a date tree farm
  2. 1990s

    Over the next decade, new growers joined the association, and existing operations expanded. This growth was both driven by and supported strong demand for Medjool dates from consumers who had come to expect the high quality provided by the industry-leading Bard Valley Date Growers.

    workers on a date farm
  3. 2002

    In 2002, the group opened Datepac to pack  and ship their dates from under one roof to customers all over the world with unified quality and food safety standards.

    a machine processing dates
  4. 2013

    As demand for Medjool dates continued to grow in the U.S. and globally, the Natural Delights® brand was born. The Bard Valley Date Growers now packing under one brand, instead of many, could better talk to shoppers about the benefits of their Medjool dates.

    Natural Delights Pitted Fresh Medjool Dates
  5. Today

    Oh, and the original six?

    They're still going strong, producing more than 200 pounds of dates each year.

    the original six Medjool date palm trees

The Medjool Date Experts

Date tree field

Did You Know?

Date palms are propogated from other dates shoots, not from seeds.

Each Medjool date growing season is a six-month process of meticulous care for our date palms that produces the incredibly plump and flavorful fruit that Natural Delights is known for.

Meet Our Growers

Click the images below to learn more about our growers.

Brandon Owl

BRANDON OWL

Brandon is a third generation grower and learned by watching his grandfather’s passion for growing Medjool dates in the 70s. As a child, he would go into the groves with his grandfather and learn how to take care of the date palms and when he got older he was able to learn more about packaging and food safety which he took a big interest in. In 2008, Brandon returned to farming and saw the opportunity to continue the business that his grandfather created. He credits his passion for date growing to his grandfather’s dedication to the crop. He now takes the time to share with his own children the unique and special growing practices that take place in the Medjool date groves.

Brandon Owl
Claudia Diaz

CLAUDIA DIAZ

Claudia has spent decades learning from and working with Medjool date farmers under the Natural Delights family of growers. It’s with that passion and expertise that she brings a wealth of knowledge to her role as one of our administrators, supporting our growers and customers alike. Claudia loves working with Medjool dates and our growers because every year is different and more exciting with such a unique crop.

Claudia Diaz
Dave Mansheim

DAVE MANSHEIM

Dave Mansheim combines a respect for tradition with a passion for innovation as a grower for Natural Delights. Taking advantage of the Bard Valley micro-climate extending some 40 miles south along the Colorado river, his innovative approach to farming has resulted in year over year increases in Medjool dates - allowing more consumers than ever to experience this unique fruit.

Dave Mansheim in a date tree grove
Dave Nelson

DAVE NELSON

Dave Nelson embodies the character of a dedicated farmer. His passion for Medjool dates, the soil, and the purity of the farming life run deep, going back to his teen years working at a Bard Valley date ranch.

In 1975, using his car as collateral, Dave and his brothers scraped together a down payment for their own date grove. Realizing the power of teamwork, the Nelson Brothers would become founding members of the Bard Valley Date Growers Association.

Dave Nelson in a date tree grove
Gus Nunez

GUS NUNEZ

Gus Nuñez spent his younger years helping his father, Isabel Nuñez, in the beautiful date gardens where he found his passion. For decades, the Nuñez family has worked to grow one of the largest Medjool producing farm in the US that employs thousands of people every year.

Gus Nunez working at a date farm
Manuel Perlata

MANUEL PERLATA

Manuel and his family are originally from Sonora, Mexico where growing fruits and vegetables along the Sonora River is common practice. After spending eight years at the University of Arizona as a research specialist, Manuel joined the Natural Delights family of growers as a field technician. He helps ensure that our date palms continue to produce the highest quality dates thanks to proper soil nutrition, temperature measurement, and water application.

Manuel Perlata
Melanie Alameda

MELANIE ALAMEDA

Melanie is a fourth generation farmer with a rich family history in agriculture. The Almedas have been farming since the 1920s, beginning in Central California and eventually moving down to Bard Valley. One of Melanie’s favorite things about growing Medjool dates is that they are not only rich in flavor, but also in history. She loves growing fresh fruit that can be used a million different ways and she brings great vision to the Natural Delights team of growers. A fun fact about Melanie is that she also studied Opera in school and was part of the San Francisco Opera Company before becoming a full time grower. She continues to sing and perform, but her stage is now a vast grove of date palms.

Melanie Alameda
Ord Cox

ORD COX

Ord has been growing dates for more than 50 years! He comes from a multi-generational farming family with a background growing everything from dates and citrus to alfalfa and peanuts. In the 1950s when his family moved from El Paso to Bard Valley, he began growing date palms and has since helped to expand our organic date growing in Palm Springs and Bard Valley. He gets to work with his son, Ty, teaching him the unique intricacies of date growing.

Ord Cox
Oscar Salcedo Jr.

OSCAR SALCEDO JR.

Oscar comes from a multi-generational farming family. As a young boy, he would join his dad in the fields any time there was an opportunity to learn about how food was grown. It’s that ongoing love and respect for agriculture that brought Oscar to the Natural Delights group of growers. He enjoys working outdoors and reaping the (literal) fruits of his labor by providing the best Medjool dates to shoppers nationwide.

Oscar Salcedo Jr.
Ty Cox

TY COX

Ty has been growing dates for over a decade, learning from his father Ord and the many generations of farmers in his family before him. When he was a child, he would follow his father closely in the date groves and learned how to plant and take care of the date palms. After farming several other crops throughout his adulthood, Ty decided to take over the family business in 2008. One of his favorite things about growing dates is that every year is different and there is a constant evolution of growing techniques and innovation.

Ty Cox

Our Sustainability Commitments

100% of our tree trimmings are turned into mulch.
Our ripening facilities are warmed by thermal energy from the sun.
100% of our green packaging is made from post-consumer recycled materials.
Drip irrigation is used on over 2,200 acres to conserve water.
Glyphosate residue free icon
Natural Delights® are 100% glyphosate free.
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