Dates, curiosity & travel is how Desert Dust came to life!

World traveler & culinary souvenir lover Rick Marino has spent his career tour managing rock n roll bands. When he was leaving the Palm Spring airport for yet another tour, he was standing in the gift shop wondering why there was no representation of products made in the Coachella Valley. “I wanted to bring gifts that are unique to the place I call home to give people I was flying to visit. And there was nothing.”

Odd, considering the Coachella Valley region of the California desert is the largest producer of dates outside of the Middle East.

“There’s so much more to dates than what you see in your produce aisle,” enthuses Rick, fascinated by the endless varieties of dates (over 2,000), their flavor profile, and pedigree. Known as nature’s superfood, the date palm is a staple fruit high in fiber, low in fat, full of minerals, vitamins & protein that has nourished millions of humans worldwide for centuries.

Date palm trees were transplanted from Algeria to the Coachella Valley in 1903, becoming a significant crop and eventually the largest commercial date-producing region in the Western Hemisphere – currently supplying 35 million pounds annually.

Since 1947, Indio, California, has been home to the National Date Festival – an annual celebration at the end of date palm harvest season, and a major tourist attraction.

So when Rick Marino left Palm Springs Airport empty-handed, without any souvenirs to give people a taste of the desert – he knew what he had to do. During the pandemic, Rick had no tours to manage and instead focused on blending ingredients born in the California desert to make the ultimate all-purpose seasoning: DESERT DUST