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Until recently, the only jujubes I knew were those tiny fruit-flavored hard candies I ate as a kid—annoying sticky little things that stuck in your teeth and took forever to dissolve or dislodge.
Alisha Taff grew up experiencing an entirely different version of jujubes in her Asian-American household. For her, jujubes were a slightly sweet, mahogany colored fruit with a history stretching back for millennia. “I remember visiting my mother’s Chinese friends, who always loved to give out jujubes,” she recalls. “Just sweet enough, it was candy in my eyes! However, at the time, I had no appreciation for its high nutritional value and that it played an important role in traditional Chinese medicine.”
Nutrients galore: vitamin C, calcium, iron, & more
Jujubes have played a prominent role in the culinary and medicinal traditions of many countries, probably originating in China, India, and Persia, but eventually finding their way across the globe.
The jujube’s nutritional profile offers an abundance of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber in a sweet, delicious form, with especially generous amounts of vitamin C, calcium, and iron. In traditional Chinese and Korean medicine, jujubes are prized for their antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and are used to alleviate stress and stimulate the immune system.
The perfect crop at the perfect time and place
For Taff, the birth of her daughter was a catalyst to explore a new future for her family. “The discovery process started with asking myself how to harmoniously utilize the gifts of the land without exploiting the limited natural resources available. How could I best create a sustainable, self-perpetuating agricultural business, and balance that with the needs of the California biome in which we live?”
The answer was Just Jujubes. Alisha discovered that the jujube tree is perfectly suited to the climate and soil of California’s Cuyama Valley, and it’s extremely drought-resistant, requiring significantly less water than another, better-known local crop, the almond.
“I want to do right by future generations and by the land that’s being borrowed for this time I am here. In this spirit, I am fiercely committed to growing our jujubes with regenerative practices. My fruit is non-GMO, certified organic by CCOF and The REAL Organic Project, and free of heavy metals. As a crop, jujubes also do a lot of work for our planet: they require very little water, and with help from cover crops, they sequester carbon from the atmosphere.”
Alisha is delighted to be able to offer a combination of family heritage and future sustainability to her daughter and her generation. “The beauty of agriculture is that everything is interconnected! Jujube fruit is healthy for our bodies and culturally relevant for folks connected to its ancient history. And the trees grow in synchronicity with their environment.”