The BNP Paribas Tennis Open is quickly becoming one of the favorite tournaments for players worldwide, and one local crop may be a reason why they keep coming back.
They are small and unattractive but they pack a punch, dates from the Coachella Valley are what makes the Oasis salad at Sherman’s Deli & Bakery a favorite. The desert staple is one of the pop-up restaurants at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden with dates on the menu.
Chef Gordon Poster said the dried fruit are in trend but they are also nutritious, “Their sweetness, juiciness, they got a nice texture to them.”
The California Date Commission works with local date growers to provide a hefty amount of dates to the players, media and a few restaurants.
The partnership is in its fourth year, this year they delivered 14,000 containers of dates and Lorrie Cooper the manager of the Indio office of the commission said they are sure to run out.
Cooper said, “We’ve realized that the players have equated California dates with the BNP Paribas, they look forward to seeing us every year now.”
The world’s number one ranked player Novak Djokovic is known to snack on dates on the court, while Sloane Stephens also includes the dried fruit into her diet.
Cooper said, “You have the sugars and fiber working together to release at a timed-bases and it helps the player have that endurance and energy.”
As long as demand continues the commission said there will never be a shortage of dates at the tennis garden.