date palm groves in Coachella Valley

Americans’ fantasy with the Middle East between 1900 and 1930 led to the mass production of dates in California’s Coachella Valley—once nicknamed the American Sahara for its hot, arid climate—and town names like Mecca and Oasis. Today, more than 90 percent of the nation’s dates are grown in the valley; the Medjool is a popular variety. (UC Berkeley photo by Gretchen Kell)

date trees

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