We recently reviewed some medjool dates from Costco and the feedback was very positive. It's hard not sound biased when we are selling the same exact thing we are reviewing. But, in an effort to be as fair as possible...we will review fruit dates from all the favorite places like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Sam's Club. These are the stores that we get the most request from.
That said, let's take a look at the Medjool Dates Trader Joe's carries. We purchased these from the Trader Joe's located at on Washington Street in La Quinta, California. They were located on a table just inside the produce area. We purchased them for $4.49/ pound. They were Fancy Medjool Dates. For your information - Fancy Dates are a grade. Fancy is categorized by some dryness and skin separation, and packed with various sizes. So no consistency in the sizes. Fancy is the 4th lowest grade of Medjool Date behind Jumbo, Large and Extra Fancy.
As you know Trader Joe's re-brands many products and sells them under the Trader Joe's brand name. These dates say on the front "Dist. & Sold Exclusively By: Trader Joe's, Monrovia, California 91016. In an effort to try and find out what farm might have been working with Trader Joes we looked at the address and found out this is Trader Joe's headquarters. Our assumption is they are purchasing the Medjool Dates and repacking them themselves at their facility in Monrovia.
I'm not going to get into the nutritional value of these medjool dates...their all the same, unless they ware adding something to them and it appears no additives in Trader Joe's dates.
Let's get into the review. When looking through the many boxes that were sitting on the display we noticed a couple different "packed on" dates. We went with the fresher pack of February 07, 2016. We purchased them on February 10th, 2016, so from a freshness...that's impressive packing. To get from the packing center to the store; albeit it was a store located in California...3 days is pretty good. The other packed on date we found was February 02, 2016 and those dates did seem to look a little stale and some crystallization happening, we passed on those.
The packaging was a typical clam shell style pack (see pic). The one thing I was trying to figure out was if these are air tight. I know some company's claim they are, but this did not seem like it was air tight. It has the shrink band around the top, but again, just can't see how they are air tight. It does recommend refrigeration after opening, which is typical and something we always recommend to our customers to ensure you keep your dates as fresh as possible. We open the pack and visually these medjool dates looked really good. Fancy medjool dates are a smaller date as you can see in these comparison pictures to our Whole Fresh Dates...they are not nearly as big. It took 6 Trader Joe's medjools to weigh the same as 3 of our Whole Fresh Dates (3oz.). That's expected since we do not sell Fancy Dates. The dates over all showed mild skin separation and visually were a huge improvement over the dates we reviewed from Costco. Taste wise, they were good. Chewy and as expected from a Fancy graded date. However, we did not see any dryness at all in any of the fruit dates we purchased at Trader Joe's. All the dates were moist and delicious.
Out of all the retail stores that we have looked into...so far, these Medjool Dates are a good choice. Trader Joe's seems to really be able to provide some fresh quality dates at a reasonable price. If you are not looking to buy medjool date online, then Trader Joes looks to be a good alternative if you are looking for a smaller style medjool date. But, of course Whole Fresh Dates always has you covered and with FREE SHIPPING. Shameless plug.