The Romance and Sex Life of the Date

May 2, 2011

Yes, that probably caught your attention. It’s because of a must stop at Shields Date Gardens (corner of hwy 111 and Jefferson) for a date milk shake – yes, a vanilla milk shake made with date crystals (small dried date pieces). Known for their cultivation of dates, the Shields started in 1929 and produced 119 varieties of dates. They have a soda counter, retail store and theatre where you can watch the story of how dates are farmed. Now, every time I eat a date I’ll be thinking of Shields.

Date Facts

  • 95% of dates produced in the US come from the Coachella Valley;
  • Dates are the oldest known cultivated food crop that flourished in the ancient world and were introduced by the Spanish;
  • 30 million pounds of dates are produced in the Coachella Valley;
  • Commercial production of dates really began in the 20th century with date palms imported from the Middle East;
  • Date palms take 15 years to produce dates, they are pollinated by hand and harvested by hand, one date at a time as they ripen;
  • It’s the most expensive crop to produce.
  • And, the date shake was very good – thick and sweet and somewhat addictive.

I should also mention that we went to the organic market in La Quinta that’s held on Sundays. About 20 producers, from greens, to fruits, breads and meats. We bought a porterhouse steak which we bbq for dinner tonight along with fresh yellow baby squash and bell pepper. It’s off to Phoenix tomorrow!

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