The Land of Milk and Date Syrup.
That's me in the desert almost 12 years ago when we were living in the land of camel's milk and honey (date syrup). As we walked those dunes close to our home, as we often did in the winter months, I was probably thinking about something deep... like how much better the muffins I usually made with honey were going to taste with date syrup. That season of life was just the beginning of my obsession with dates and the nectar of that fruit that eventually turned into a family adventure that today we refer to fondly as, Date Lady.
Date syrup. Where did you get that idea?
My husband Ryan was teaching at the United Arab Emirates University and I had just had my first child. My newborn and I spent much of our time exploring the local food markets (called "souks") and taking in the sights and sounds of our new surroundings. The ladies in the market often gathered around the little white pasty baby inside my wrap, pinching his cheeks and smiling with their eyes from behind their abayas. One of those days in particular, they were talking enthusiastically about the jar of pure date syrup I was holding in my hands. They told me it healed infirmities, provided nutrition, and made amazing pastries, of course. It was both a survival food of their Bedouin ancestors and a feasting dessert of ancient kings. I had a feeling right then that this might be my favorite item ever, luxurious honey-like nectar derived from the fruit of the date palm. In that part of the world (where over 95% of dates are grown), date syrup overflows. I brought some home to try, thinking I would use it as I did honey, to replace sugar in our household, which I had been doing for quite some time. I baked with it, poured it over oatmeal and cereal, and used it anywhere I would normally use a sweetener. I learned quickly that it was amazing on pancakes and waffles. Surely something that tasted this good could not be as "healthy" as the locals were telling me. But alas, not only was it now my favorite sweetener, but I was learning that the nutritional value was very impressive, even compared to my other favored sugar alternatives.
As time progressed and we would make visits to the States, the devastating news we had feared was confirmed: date syrup was nowhere to be found. Sometimes I would stumble across it in a Middle Eastern grocery store, but it would often contain sugar or other unsavory ingredients.
Time went on and conversations ensued about how we could bring the product to the US while simultaneously smuggling obscene amounts of it in our suitcases as gifts for those Americans we loved the most. Eventually we knew what we had to do. We had to at least consider the possibility of starting a US brand of date syrup. I mean, how could we keep this thing to ourselves? So (fast forwarding a few details here on sourcing the perfect date syrup including camel rides where we were almost abducted, shady business practices and strange meetings in a few different countries of the Middle East) in 2010, we test marketed one of the first organic certified date syrups in the world under the brand "Organics Are For Everyone". The premise was that organic food wasn't just for the elite, but just the way our great grandparents grew it, and it should be available like that for everyone. Wisely, we realized that our brand needed to sell date syrup, not an ideology. What led to actual name is a story we'll save for another day but generally speaking, by then we had been making so many everyday condiments and goods with dates that we knew we would not stop with only the syrup and that our brand was truly all and only about dates.
We officially started Date Lady in July of 2012 and today we celebrate with you, our beloved customer, and those that have kept us in business all these years. Thank you again for your loyalty, we are thankful for you!