Grower members of the Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers Association could produce 30% more dates than last season.

Up to 15 million pounds are expected in 2012-13, according to a news release from the Bard Valley, Calif.-based association, whose growers in California and Arizona produce about 60% of U.S. medjool dates.

“This year’s crop quality is exceptional,” Dave Anderson, the association’s marketing director, said in the release. “The extra tonnage comes at an excellent time, as health-conscious Americans increasingly embrace medjool dates as an easy and delicious new way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in their diets.”

In preparation for the larger crop, Datepac, a facility owned by association members, has installed new conditioning rooms at its headquarters and packing plant in Yuma, Ariz.

Association members grow on about 4,500 acres in the Bard Valley and pack under the Natural Delights label.