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Posted by Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 12:08 AM

By Michael Stern:
Around the time King Tut's tomb was opened, Floyd Shields came to the California desert to grow dates. His legacy is a nostalgic oasis reminiscent of a time when the sands of old Araby were a destination as alluring as the Golden State itself. Times have changed, but Shield's Date Gardens remains, serving up all the ingenuous charm of a vintage western tourist attraction (see the review). It is a fun place to visit for its date shakes and for a screening of the ultra-kitsch movie, "The Romance and Sex Life of the Date"; but it also is a precious source of mail-order Super Jumbo Royal Medjools, date crystals (for making your own shakes at home), date butter, and "Sex Life of the Date" souvenir coffee mugs. If big, squishy, sweet, rich dates make you want to sing "Joy to the World," check out Shield's walnut-stuffed, chocolate-covered Medjools.


Can't visit SoCal without a ride to Indio, hopefully in February for the big Date Festival and then to Shields for a massive sugar high on a date shake.
Posted by mayor al on Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012 2:27 AM

Don't forget the date ice cream. I had a scoop of it at Shield's on Friday.
Posted by buffetbuster on Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012 8:40 AM

I've never been to Shield's Date Gardens but, as a young salesman, I travelled the Indio area back in the mid-sixties. I loved stopping at Valerie Jean's Date Shack on US.99 just south of Thermal. Valerie Jean's still stands as a California Historical Site but has been out of business for years. Nothing could beat an ice cold date shake in the summer with temps in the 100's.
Posted by Twinwillow on Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012 12:32 PM

Just like in apples or other fruit, dates come in many varieties. Shields has them all out for sampling and you'd be amazed at the natural, sweet richness of a date. Buy the Date Crystals that Shields puts in their date shakes and make the most amazing baked treats.
Posted by mar52 on Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012 2:40 PM

I love anything dates; plain and simple!
Posted by ann peeples on Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012 7:51 PM

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