All photos by Reem Saad
More than 20 varieties of locally produced dates have gone on sale at Doha’s Wholesale Market this week, marking the arrival of this year’s first harvest batch.
The dates come from private farms in Qatar, including in Al Shamal and Al Khor.
They differ in taste, color, size, thickness of skin, and carbohydrate and calorie count, among other specifications, vendors said.
Some of the varieties on display include Ikhlas, Shishi, Lulu, the red Khunaizi, Barhi, Razeez and Hibri.
Speaking to Doha News yesterday, one vendor said Ikhlas is the top-selling date so far, followed by Shishi, which people prefer to eat when the fruit is half-ripe – both yellow and brown.
“People love this one,” he said, pointing at the batch. “It has the best taste.”
A Qatari woman passing by jumped in on the conversation and put a thumbs up when Ikhlas dates were mentioned, saying the type was also her favorite.
This date turns brown when it ripens, and is the most common type eaten in Qatar. Longer in length than many other types, the Ikhlas variety is very sweet and soft on the inside, and a little dry on the outside.
However, the shopper added that she preferred the taste of dates grown in Saudi Arabia.
“I love both Ikhlas and Shishi, but I love Saudi’s more, especially Qassim and Al Kharaj,” she said.
Known as one of the best types of dates worldwide, a box of Ikhlas dates range between QR20-50/kg, depending on the demand, said one of the vendors.
It is especially expensive due its long life span, lasting up to a year before it expires.
The vendor added that prices for most types dates vary from day to day:
“It depends. One day a box of 8kg can cost QR10, the next QR30. It depends on the amount of dates we have and the amount of people coming to the market. All can be negotiated at the end of the day.”
More fresh dates will continue to arrive within the next two to three weeks, the vendor told Doha News, and the supply is expected to continue for the next two months.
Who’s hungry? Thoughts?