In 1924, Floyd and Bess Shields came to the desert and opened Shields Date Garden and started a tradition that would soon become a Palm Springs legacy. Actually, Shields is in Indio on the East end of The Coachella Valley about 20 miles from Palm Springs but regardless of where you are, a visit to Floyd and Bess's place is worth a drive.
From the beginning, The Shields invited guests and tourists to their farm and garden. Floyd started out giving lectures about dates and the date grove while in the garden but later he began incorporating a slide show. Today that presentation is now revered as the 15 minute film, Romance and Sex Life of the Date, and it runs continuously at Shield's Date Garden in its own private theatre. Visitors are encouraged to watch the film before browsing the store.
Floyd also invented the Date Crystal which is a dry product created from dates. It was this invention that led to the now famous date shake. The crystals though can also be used in cooking and on cold cereal.
Date shakes are now a major reason why visitors and locals alike return to Shields over and over again. In recent years, Shields has added a café open for breakfast and lunch. The menu at the café is a blend of traditional and Mexican favorites.
Shield's still grows their dates without chemical fertilizers or pesticides and they use no preservatives. The store is open daily from 9am to 5pm. The café is open daily from 8am to 2pm. Shields also offers an online catalog with worldwide shipping so even after your Palm Springs visit is over you can enjoy Shield's dates or even give them as gifts.
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