Our life isn’t all work and no play. Sometimes we actually have fun on purpose on a school day! Our recent cheap date experience in the Coachella Valley helped us remember why it’s so important to create occasional diversions.
While driving to our current spot at the Fountain of Youth a few weeks ago I remembered we had a coupon for a free date shake at Oasis Date Gardens. This funky, historic roadside attraction is way off the beaten path from the popular Shields Date Garden in Indio.
Ever since our first Slab City boondocking experience, we meant to stop here but always missed the turn. Not this time. Outside it was almost 105 degrees and a cool date shake sounded like heaven, so we stopped for our freebie.
Oasis Date Gardens has a lovely, lush green grassy picnic area shaded by giant palm trees, but the non-descript building exterior doesn’t set your expectations too high. However once you go inside you’ll discover that like the Salton Sea itself, looks are deceiving. We walked into the cool building where this odd character was waiting with a dazzling array of date varieties at the samples table.
With so many types of dates to nibble on, it was hard to determine our favorite. They’re all good!
This date gardens tourist trap doesn’t have the over-the-top kitsch of its nearby competitor, but it has far more substance. The organic dates grown by the Woodspur Farming company are tastier than any we’ve tried at Shields. What’s even better is the company is on-track to be 100 percent organic certified by next year, and they use all the latest water conservation farming methods to care for their delicious crop.
Once we decided on the dates we wanted to buy, it was time for our date shake. Could it live up to the date shakes at Shields? We wanted to find out so we spooned the cool, sweet and nutty-tasting delight into our parched pieholes and got our answer.
Yes! It was great! Maybe I’m just over-thinking it but I have a feeling that the organic dates used at Oasis create a better dessert that’s not quite as sugary sweet as Sheilds, and far more flavorful. We loved it, and as you can see, so did Wyatt Ray.
After our holiday eating fest ends, Jim and I are going on an uber-healthy Elimination Diet. The whole concept is slightly terrifying to us because after a 3-day juice fast, we must eliminate all sugar from our diet for about three months. However, the Elimination Diet allows the use of dates and date-based products in many types of dishes and desserts. Whew!
If you’re anywhere near the Coachella Valley, be sure to make a stop at Oasis Date Gardens. And don’t forget to have fun out there, darnit!