Have you had ‘rutab’ dates? First harvest arrives in UAE markets; prices from Dh25 per kilo

For Emirati households, rutab dates are not just a delicious treat; they are a symbol of local hospitality


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Photo: SM Ayaz Zakir
Photo: SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Thu 20 Jun 2024, 2:23 PM

Last updated: Fri 21 Jun 2024, 4:15 PM

Every year in June, Emirati families visit local markets to purchase the first date harvest of the season, locally known as ‘Tabasheer Al rutab’. Known for its soft texture and sweet flavour, these fresh, half-ripe dates are a favourite among residents during summer.

Vendors at local markets are preparing for the heavy rush as residents flock to purchase the first batches of the season.

"On Wednesday, we received the first batch of rutab dates from Oman, Dhaid, and nearby towns,” said Abdullah Naseeb of Al Ghousia Vegetable Fruits House LLC in Souk Al Jubail. “Although we didn't see a large crowd, a few loyal customers came with their families to enjoy the fresh harvest."

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Abdullah Naseeb. Photo: SM Ayaz Zakir
Abdullah Naseeb. Photo: SM Ayaz Zakir

Abdullah Al Shehi and his family visited Sharjah's Souk Al Jubail market to buy fresh produce. "We have been contacting a local vendor for two days to check if the dates have arrived in the market.

"On June 19 morning, he called asking us to come by the evening. We were excited as date harvest is a form of celebration,” said Al Shehi, adding that the tradition of visiting markets to purchase the fresh harvest is a family activity.

For Emirati households, rutab dates are not just a delicious treat; they are a symbol of local hospitality. As Al Shehi explained, "The rutab dates are deeply ingrained in Emirati tradition and heritage. They are a hallmark of hospitality, often offered to guests as a warm gesture of welcome and respect."

Nadeem Ahmed
Nadeem Ahmed

Expect higher price

On the first day of the market, rutab date prices were significantly higher, nearly 40 per cent higher than the previous year. "The supply is limited and the price is a little on the higher side,” said Nadeem Ahmed of Shahou Veg and Fruits Stall in Souk Al Jubail.

"As the season progresses, prices are expected to fluctuate depending on supply and demand,” added Nadeem.

Khaneezi dates
Khaneezi dates

The market offers a variety of rutab dates from different regions, each with its unique price. Al Khatri dates from Dhaid are priced at Dh35 per kg, while Ilbas and Naghal dates are available for Dh40 per kg. Kasab dates from Dhaid command a higher price at Dh60 per kg, considered a favourite among consumers.

Among the most sought-after varieties are Khaneezi dates from Oman, priced at Dh50 per kg. More affordable options include Uchipal dates from Oman and Al Dhaid, priced at Dh25 per kg, and Hallawi dates from the same regions, available for Dh30 per kg.

Kasab dates
Kasab dates

Vendors highlighted that the rates of the rutab dates may remain constant for the next two weeks as the supply is limited.

Season delayed due to rainfall

Due to heavy rainfall in April, this year's harvest has been delayed by a week or two, said Ahmed Al Mansouri, a date farmer in Al Dhaid.

Naghal dates
Naghal dates

“The rainfall did not have much impact on date cultivation. The preparation season starts in April or May, causing delays in the fruit's entry into the markets. Date lovers can expect high-quality crops this year,” said Al Mansouri.

The entry of rutab dates into the market marks the beginning of a busy period for date producers and sellers. They are looking forward to a successful season ahead.


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