When the #COVID_19 #pandemic forced mosques to close during #Ramadan last year, #Muslims could not break fast and pray together.

However, dates were a constant in every home.

After fasting from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, Muslims turn first to the fruit, a practice believed followed by Muhammad.

On Twitter, some joke that it’s the only month of the year where they have a date every night.

For Ahmad Fejleh, who grew up in Syria, the fruit has been a fixture although his route to date farming was circuitous.

His connection to dates prompted a move to the Imperial Valley in 2007 to start AYA Farms, a now 75-acre date palm orchard.

Even non-Muslim Latino date farmers have come to understand the significance of Ramadan, filling orders for dozens of boxes to be given as gifts.

Alvaro Bautista and his family learned about Ramadan and the significance of dates through their customers.

In the Coachella Valley, the date reigns supreme.

In 1904, the same year that date trees arrived here from the Sahara Desert, the town of Walters was renamed Mecca.

There’s a National Date Festival held each year in Indio that dates back to 1921.

Read more about why the date holds a special significance for Muslims as well as farmers in Southern California's Coachella Valley from reporter @brittny_mejia and photographer @LATFoto at


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5 May
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