One of the kingdom’s 13 provinces, the Qassim region is known for its wheat, which it exports heavily, and its dates, which are popular throughout the country. Perhaps this is why Qassim is also called the “food basket” of the country. The area is actually relatively rich in water and has soil and a climate that is suitable for growing most crops, including grapes, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, mandarin oranges, pomegranates and many vegetables. The main market in Buraydah, the province’s capital city (which is inhabited by approximately 60 percent of the region’s total population), offers a variety of dates year-round. If you’re visiting at the end of the summer, you might catch the annual Buraydah Date Festival, a 35-day event, which draws farmers and tourists from neighboring regions and countries every year to sell dates and date by-products, like date syrup. Qassim has a desert climate, with long, hot summers and short, mild winters, and there’s little precipitation, so it’s a great place to get out and explore.