I have long felt there would be a good demand for Jujubes  if you could market them correctly.  Since our business model is to promote and develop fruit crops for small growers that will be profitable here, growing is only part of the  equation.  They can’t be profitable if they can grow them but can’t sell them.  Therefore a portion of our efforts are dedicated to also teaching growers how to build demand and market their product.  I have watched and taken note as many vendors at the farmer’s markets spend considerable time and energy promoting new or uncommon vegetables (think rutabaga).  They give samples, use discount pricing, promote in their newsletters and/or websites and give recipes and tips on how to use and prepare them.  Most of the farmers I have spoken to expect to spend a year to two years “educating the public” on their new food variety.  In unison they voice how hard it is to gain acceptance for something new.  Some people won’t like it, some will go back to the old varieties, some will not think it worth the price etc.  While necessary, that all seems like a lot of work and trouble.

 One of the reasons given for why Jujubes never gained acceptance the early 1900’s in this country was that they were promoted too soon.  They were passed out at events and gatherings by excited government officials as soon as the first crops came in.  Unfortunately these varieties were ones made for drying, not for fresh eating and the public turned their collective noses up at them due to the poor flavor.   Now we have many varieties that are good for fresh eating as well as different ones that are better for processing and ones made just for drying.  So it’s like starting over with an unknown fruit.  Add to that a product that has confusing name.  Jujube  Jujube.  To me it conjures up visions of the old candy by the same name that was really not very good   (I may be showing my age here).     It was the forerunner of the improved “Jujyfruits”,


which seems like the forerunner to the modern “Gummy Bears”. and of course my personal favorite, the “Gummy Worm”.

 Enough history, how do we build a market?   And how do we do it the easy way?  It came to me that we may not have to educate the public when there is an already educated segment of our society out there.  If we are lucky maybe all we need do is fill a demand!  So straight to “the Google” I went.  A quick search for “Asian food markets Albuquerque” came up with 8 locations.  Certainly they would use distributors to import the foods they sell and might be interested in a fresher, locally grown product.  So I hopped in my car and headed out. 

 The first one was a small neighborhood store which was packed with all types of food items, the vast majority of which I had no clue what they were.  I only knew the others if they had English writing on the package.  This store even had a small restaurant hidden in the back with 4 tables.  When looking through the shelves I quickly found what I was looking for, a 12 z.  package of dried jujubes or “Red Dates” for $3.99.  My Korean is a little rusty, so in my best

12 oz. package of Dried Jujube or "Red Dates"

broken English  I asked her if she sold a lot of these and she indicated she did.  As they had a small fresh food section I asked her if they ever sold them fresh or would they like to try and carry the product.  After much back and forth and many hand gestures on my part, I believe the answer is that they never have them fresh because of no supply and that there would be a very big demand for them. No doubt if I had walked in with samples we would have communicated better.

 In the car and off to the next one.  This is a neighborhood store also but probably twice as large as the first store.  Again it is very well stocked, almost overflowing with merchandise and looks prosperous.    Continued……..