Saturday, January 2, 2016
Shields Date Garden
Date palms require a dry, hot climate and warm nights to survive and bear fruit. In the late 1800s and early 1900s the USDA searched the world for crops that would grow well in the varied climates of the US. The Coachella Valley was perfect for dates so a few shoots were brought to the US from Algeria. Thousands of trees now grow in the valley and provide 95% of the US date crop.
Shields Date Farm is a family run business started by Floyd and Bess Shields in 1924. The store, located on the edge of a small date grove, is brimming over with many varieties of dates, citrus fruit and souvenirs. Free samples are available. A short film about date farming is shown in a small theater.There’s also a garden with statues depicting 14 biblical scenes – $5.00 but free if you spend $25.00 at the gift shop or eat in the restaurant.
The gift shop is accessible but a bit crowded when the store is busy. The theater is accessible. Since the reviews on the garden are mixed we didn’t visit it. We also found that dates are still too sweet for our tastes and we didn’t buy anything to get free admission to the garden.
RVs should be parked in the gravel lot by the date trees. It’s kind of rough so wheelchair users may want to be dropped off at the entrance. Garden