Got Some Shake to Go with That Date?: Shields Date Garden, Indio, CA

One of our regular stops when we head out to the desert is Shields Date Garden in Indio, CA. C and I first stopped off at Shields during a non-T desert date weekend (ha, get it?!) a couple of summers ago, and it’s become a family tradition ever since.

Pull off CA-111 in Indio, CA, for a snack break or meal (or free movie) at Shields Date Garden.

Staffers mix up a batch of date shakes for vacationers and locals out at Shields Date Garden.

A delicious date shake from Shields Date Garden. This was my first shake from Shields Date Garden back in July 2011 while on a “date” weekend with C. I’ve enjoyed several date shakes since.

T enjoying his shake from Shields Date Garden on our most recent visit last weekend. His shake, however, is plain vanilla. He’s not too into the date flavor… yet.

The large retail area at Shields Date Garden.

Shields Date Garden is best known for their Medjool dates, though they grow and sell almost a dozen other varieties, including some that are exclusive to Shields alone. Please note that per Shields’ website, “The Jewel Date Co. (as mentioned on the box here) is the parent company of Shields Date Garden and handles all wholesale orders for Shields Date Garden.”

From the several varieties of dates grown on-property to the date crystal ice cream shakes they mix in-store at their ice cream fountain, Shields has a little something for the date lover in your life in-store or online. But don’t worry non-date lovers, there’s plenty to go around for you, too. Shields also sells in-season grapefruit and other citrus in-store and online, and they carry several other dried fruits, marinades, and food items, some which are packaged perfectly for hostess gifts. In fact, on our last trip to Shields, we bought about 10 half-pound gift boxes stuffed with chocolate-covered dates (some plain, some walnut-  or pecan-rolled, like this box just smaller) for C’s mom to give to her house hosts overseas during an upcoming trip. Most if not all the items for sale at Shields are grown and/or made in California, and all date items are grown and packaged at Shields.

Don’t worry, RMT’ers. The film is completely PG (G really) and actually very informative!

A peek inside of the theater and continuous screening of “Romance and Sex Life of the Date” out at Shields Date Garden in Indio, CA.

Since 1924, Shields Date Garden has been giving visitors their date fix not just through its bountiful harvest year in and year out but through ongoing education. They’ve run the film, “Romance and Sex Life of the Date,” on a continuous loop since 1967 to show visitors just how much of an effort it was to bring and farm dates to Southern California in the first place. The film is completely G; don’t let the seedy theater set-up shock you into thinking otherwise.

While I don’t have any photos of our delicious lunch from The Cafe at Shields Date Garden, I do have a picture of a delicious breakfast I put together using some of the blonde and brunette dates we bought on one of our trips (those varieties being Shields’ exclusives hybrid on-site by Mr. Shields in 1927). To make the breakfast shown here, just pit a few dates, cut them in half, and spread them out over a piece of toast slathered with cream cheese or mascarpone.

We also have enjoyed a meal at The Cafe at Shields Date Garden, but it’s been about a year or so. However, I can still remember the date, bacon, and blue cheese burger and date, blue cheese, and mango vinaigrette salad that C and I split. The food and service are both equally excellent, as are the prices for the quality and freshness offered. The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch daily.

This iconic sign helps you find your way into Shields Date Garden in Indio, CA.

Thanks once again to Huell Howser for his series about Palm Springs and his show on Shields Date Garden in particular. We’d be lost – and starving – in California without him! And don’t you get lost or go hungry along the way either, RMT’ers. Shields Date Garden is at 80-225 U.S. Highway 111, Indio, CA  92201-6599 for in-store treats, or you can order online at any time when you need a date fix.