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  • Writer's pictureGrant Guy

Shields Date Garden

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

The epitome of the term “Roadside Attraction” is the glorious Shields Date Garden.

As you drive towards Shields, you will start to see a Burma-shave style row of billboards touting the garden and all it has to offer, and then, one of the greatest novelty signs ever erected, the Shields Knight in shining blue armor announces that you have arrived.

The 17-acre date garden was planted by Floyd and Bessie Shields in 1924.

Floyd soon began giving informal informative talks to visitors to the gardens. The popularity of his talks exploded, and soon he had developed it into a more formal lecture, and then he added a slide show! Eventually an adorable tiny theatre was built, and the 15-minute film enticingly called “The Romance and Sex Life of the Date” was produced. The theatre remains to this day, and the film plays continuously during the stores opening hours. You can watch it for FREE, and the vintage footage of the Coachella Valley is fascinating.

The store itself has a cool store feel, and offers every kind of date, and date adjacent product you can think of. Look for Floyds two hybrid date varieties - the blonde, and the brunette. This is the only place in the world where they are grown. The store also sells fresh citrus fruits when they’re in season.

There is a vintage soda fountain where you can sit and drink a delicious date shake that is made before your eyes (they are quite something - plan to skip your next meal if you have one - they are a LOT - but soooooooo delicious - a must do)

We have always been too mean to pay the $5 they charge to walk through the gardens, but since learning that there are more than 20 statues of Jesus in there, we are more inclined to do that too next time we visit.

There is also an outdoor cafe, with a view of the date gardens, but we have not tried that either, mainly because we are always too full of a no apologies self-inflicted date shake overdose.


Southern California #48 - last visited

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