Friday, November 18, 2011

It's a Date!!!

Whether we are out for just a day or a long weekend, one of our desert traditions is stopping by Hadley Fruit Orchards.  

Hadley's has been a roadside fruit stand for the last 80 years and we always make a point of checking in to peruse the merchandise, purchase oddities like blown-out ostrich eggs, and indulge in that modern day miracle - the date shake!!!

Miles of aisles of desert bounty - snacks, dried fruits, candy & nuts

Heck, they're even making homemade peanut butter.

But it's all about the dates!
There are so many things wrong with me that one would think
lactose intolerance is the least of my worries.  But it hurts the
 most when I come face-to-face with the banana-date shake.
 No shake for me!

It can be hard to believe that something that looks like
this and hangs off of the side of palm tree would be something
one would want to ingest, let alone be something that is totally delicious.

The Hadley Family and my family got in on the secret early and dates have been a part of our family's pantry as long as I can remember.  My maternal grandmother makes amazing oatmeal, chocolate chip, date, walnut cookies.
For parties, my parents always made "mock-rumaki" as an appetizer - a date stuffed with an almond and wrapped in bacon.  I hated it as a kid but my tastes have matured!

Hadley's also has a wall of fame.
Our favorite signed photo was that of child-star &
Shirley Temple contemporary, Jane Withers.

I had heard tell that further into the desert, down Highway 111, there was another famous date farm but we had always been so preoccupied by Hadleys to pay much attention.  Jane Withers provenance not withstanding, I made sure we visited the other hotbed of date propagation - Shields Date Ranch.

I, of course, was immediately taken by the sign.

A view of the ranch.
Date palms require major hydration.

Shields Date Ranch has been in the same location since 1924.
The current facade was erected in 1953.  Between the sign and the building,
I was already sold.

Detail of the stenciled, terrazzo floor.

Romance & Sex Life of the had me at "free."
My favorite part of Shields Date Ranch is that they not only
maintain the desert novelty of a vintage, roadside fruit
stand, they threw the wacky tacky stank on it!

Even if one hated dates, it would be hard to pass up the
"The Romance of the Date."

Before we even looked at the store's offerings, we had to find the theater.

Mr Shields knew that sex sells.
Seriously, we bought about $40 worth of dates and date-related
products including date shakes, chocolate covered dates,
date bars, and prickly pear cactus candy.

The 108 seat theater.
Apparently, date palm pornography has a more
limited appeal than I would have thought.

Hadleys has some major competition.  My brother and sister said that Shields' shakes may have the edge on Hadleys'.  
The secret is the "date crystals," a naturally-derived, date byproduct unique to Shields. 

"Please come again"???
No need for the formal invitation, I'll be back.  It's a date!!!

I don't get asked out a lot but I can honestly say that Hadleys and Shields are two of the best "dates" I've ever had!  If you're ever out Palm Springs way, be sure to make a date with some dates!

Hadley Fruit Orchards
48980 Seminole Dr
Cabazon, CA

Shields Date Ranch
80225 Hwy 111
Indio, CA


Mr. Tiny


  1. I do love me a Shield's Date Shake!! Glad you got over there and experienced the sex life of a date.

  2. I have never tried a date. *Gasp*, I know. But I think I want to try a date shake now!

  3. I love Hadleys! I used to make my parents stop there for date shakes on the way to palm springs to visit the grandparents. Good memories for sure!