Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Found a place where things haven’t changed.

As a new arrival to the Coachella Valley, California, I realize there is much to learn. It had been a busy week, so decided Saturday that I would put career duties aside and head out to explore the valley that is majestically surrounded by mountains.

My goal was to revisit a place that provided fond memories. My parents had taken us there years ago. When I lived in San Fernando Valley in the early 70s’, a trip to this valley wasn’t complete unless one went to Shields Date Garden in Indio for dates. Even more important, was buying and savoring a date shake from their old-fashion ice cream counter.

Yes, the temperate was around 104 degrees. Keep in mind people in this valley know how to handle heat. I have quickly learned one would not consider getting into a car without one’s water bottle full. Locals, make it a point to tell you not to keep plastic water bottles in the car nor open it up and then close it up again and set it in the heat--apparently, germs love that kind of environment. Yes, I have added another stainless steel bottle to my “must haves” for my new life here.

Just as I thought I was not heading to my correct destination, I put Shields into my GPS. I smiled as it said I was .5 miles away from it. Sure enough there it was – looking exactly as it had all those years ago. Parked the car, walked in, and smiled for nothing had changed…even the bags full of grapefruit were in the same place.
Straight head was the ice cream fountain-hadn’t changed a bit. Even more surprising was the cost of the date shake -- $3.75 and we’re talking the grand size here. My shake was ordered and received and I sat down to watch the film on the growing of dates.

Two fascinating points:

95 percent of all dates grown in the United States are grown in the Coachella Valley

The dates outside the building are ripening and will be harvested in September.

Finished the movie and the shake, took these pictures and headed back to my “home” in Palm Springs…it had been a fascinating day, l had explored and learned. Life is good.


The way to get comfortable doing interviews, is to make sure you truly are an expert on your subject. You will be amazed how much you know that others do not.

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