Happy 9th Anniversary

Date syrup. Where did you get that idea?

For our anniversary, we thought it would be fun to share a bit of the backstory of how this company came to be. We can't include all the details of the adventures we went on to get here, including near kidnappings involving camels, pick-pockets in Egyptian elevators and peculiar run-ins in Oman. We'll just stick to the basics. I apologize for the photography in advance. We'll blame it on poor technology and the fact that I never planned for anyone to see them besides maybe a grandparent or two. 

In 2005, my husband Ryan was recruited to teach at the United Arab Emirates University and I had just had my first child. We packed everything up and headed for new adventures across the world. My newborn and I spent much of our time walking in a date oasis, which is also the only place with shade when you live in the desert and where you experienced the seasons of the desert. From Spring when the trees are being trimmed and pollination takes place, to the harvest when the dates have grown plump and thin, lanky men ascend the palms with machetes to cut down the beautiful fruit. We spent an equal amount of time exploring the local food markets (called "souks"). Spices filled the air and dates overflowed many of the market stalls. The ladies in the market often gathered around the twee baby inside my wrap, pinching his cheeks and smiling with their eyes from behind their abayas.

Colleen and Henry


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, but was blown away by the stand alone flavor profile of the thick nectar -- I started pouring it over oatmeal and quickly realized 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.

Colleen and Henry in the Desert

The Land of Milk and Date Syrup.

That's Henry and Ryan and I up there in the desert almost 14 years ago. 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 their gorgeous nectar.

Date Honey

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 taste like the metal can it had come in. I knew how pure and delicious date syrup was, and I had to have it.

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 the first organic certified date syrup in the US 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 our current 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. 

Alas, we officially started Date Lady in July of 2012 and to date we now offer date sugar, date paste, smoked maple date syrup, California Barhi Dates, Sweet Chili and BBQ Sauce, Coconut-Date Caramel and Chocolate Spread and a holiday fruitcake! I suspect we will not stop there! The best part about it all by far are all the people that love these products as much as we do, our dear customers that allow us to keep doing what we're doing. If you are still reading, thank you very much. We are so very thankful for you!

 

 

 

Comments

I have tried all of your products and they are all delicious~ the caramel sauce and chocolate sauce are my favorites, and they are over the top crazy good! I’m so very happy to have a healthy and super tasty alternative to processed sugar!!! YAY! Thank You for your vigilance.

Star on Jul 23, 2021

Colleen,
I just read about what inspired you to create these date products after living in the UAE. Sounds quite fascinating and I loved seeing the pictures.
I’d love to hear about some of the adventures you alluded to if you ever feel like sharing those stories someday.
I haven’t yet bought any of the date syrup or other date products, so I haven’t tried any if them yet.
I have no doubt though that I’ll no doubt find them to be just as delicious as you do.
Thanks again for taking the time to share your back story with us and I’m looking forward to tasting the date syrup.

Susan Echelman on Jul 23, 2021

Love the date syrup on pancakes, waffles and will try it in my coffee. . Keep making your date products. Love dates!
Thank you
Helene Archer

Helene Archer on Jul 23, 2021

Great story-I had no idea! I look forward to the next installment of your name change to the Date Lady. 😊

kathy on Jul 23, 2021

Growing up in Quebec City, PQ Canada we always had dates around the holidays,My mother would stuff them with a walnut and roll them in powder sugar and put them in a very special teak wooden dish. Up to that time my family all make date square. At a family small market I saw your bottle of date syrup, so I had to buy it to see if it was any good. I never used white sugar, Maple sugar and syrup was the only sweetener I used. i would stock up when I would go back to Quebec, Now I tell many people about date syrup from the Date Lady.

Louise Bussieres on Jul 23, 2021

Love reading these personal details about how you created this incredible brand! Enjoy reminiscing and being grateful for where you are. My favorite products are the BBQ sauce and the mint chocolate spread 😍

Esslie Davis on Jul 23, 2021

The date lady syrup is the best. Incredibly it is consistent in taste in any batch I have tried. Thank you.
Jesus Loves You!!!!!
Acts 2:38 KJV

Laura on Jul 23, 2021

So interesting! Loved reading about your company! I love your products so much! I don’t eat sugar and your syrup and other products save my life whenever I have a sweet tooth!

Camila on Jul 23, 2021

Truly glad you discovered date syrup. It IS good on and in many foods as well as just on a spoon. I have found it, as well as all your products, to be highly addictive. Your barbecue sauce as well as chili sauce – wonderful on meats just off the grill. I’ve used the chili sauce in my homemade ketchup. Wonderful. Who knew the turn your lives would take when you purchased date syrup that day. Fate.

Janet Williamson on Jul 23, 2021

So interesting! Loved reading about your company! I love your products so much! I don’t eat sugar and your syrup and other products save my life whenever I have a sweet tooth!

Camila on Jul 23, 2021

Thank you so much for bringing this to the US. I am a chocolate lover and recently became whole food plant based when the stress of what is going on in my life needed a fast and healthy change. I thought, I can mostly do this, but give up sugar and chocolate that is going to be tough. Just relocated from Southern California to Roanoke Virginia. I saw you on Chef AJ and immediately ordered!! Love the chocolate spread….OMG!!!!! Thank you.

carina a talmo on Jul 23, 2021

What a wonderful story!!! I loved reading this and learning more about the lady and family behind The Date Lady. Thank you for choosing to bring these life-changing products to the US shelves. Your experiences have not been in vain and our family is so absolutely GRATEFUL to you and your family for the opportunity to eat the all-natural, organic, delicious, and oh so nutritious super fruit that is the date in so many convenient forms!!

ZHANNA on Jul 23, 2021

Thanks for sharing your story. Very interesting perspective on date “honey”.

Marilyn on Jul 23, 2021

I have loved dates for decades. Your products are wonderfully delicious. I don’t use cane sugar and your date products are the sweetness I seek that come naturally from the fruits (in thus case dates) from mother nature. Thank you.

justine on Jul 23, 2021

Love love love your products! All of them!!! Great story!

Kate on Jul 23, 2021

Your story captures the blessings and challenges of living abroad while a dream and hope to share matures. Thank you for sharing this story, your passion to bring to others what you tasted and knew could enrich and for many improve health and wellness with an ancient sweetener filled with minerals long absent in highly processed first world foods. Keep allowing your dream to grow and mature as you consider more opportunities and hopefully bakeries and the like including your products as the product of choice…

Gregory on Jul 23, 2021

Love the story and love your product! I’m very picky about my date syrup, especially that it be truly organic, not sprayed with pesticides and safe to consume. I hope that your company continues to thrive for many yeas to come.
Thank you for sharing your story and your date syrup!!

Nancy on Jul 23, 2021

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