A Visit to the Oasis Date Farm – Thermal, California.
On the way back from our Utah camping trip we decided to swing by the Salton Sea. When we got there we realized we were pretty hungry. If you’ve ever been to the Salton Sea you know there isn’t much there to appease the weary traveler. The place is a dead zone. Dead fish and birds are scattered all around the area, unable to handle the high amounts of salinity in the water. Looking for a bathroom is hard enough, trying to find something to eat is next to impossible.
That’s when we spotted the Oasis Date Farm. It beckoned to us like an ice cream truck to a couple of 8 year old kids on a hot summer day. We descended upon it in much the same fashion as well. Hot from the sun, starving and practically waiving dollar bills in hand, we ran into the date farm at a near frantic pace. I had been to the Salton Sea many times but I had never been to a date farm. I most definitely had never tasted the sweet date shakes that I saw Anthony Bourdain drink on the Salton Sea episode of No Reservations.
We were amazed at the plethora of date related items in the gift shop & cafe. I had no idea that dates could be used in so many ways or that anyone could be so passionate about producing dates. I also never thought about giving dates for gifts – but there were gift trays aplenty.
There was a date sampling area and a learning center where they showed videos about dates. Yes, I am serious.
As you can tell from the photo – the videos enraptured many visitors at the farm.
There was also this strange, phallic looking, little date man sporting a full Middle Eastern doo-rag tucked away in the corner.
Why is there a hole in his head? Is it a piggy bank? I have no clue but it was certainly a bizarre little set up. It totally caught us all by surprise when we spotted it. Honestly it kind of scared us all a little bit. It looks like it could come alive at night, running around the date farm, raising havoc, scaring small animals and full sized humans. I know it would scare the living crap out of me if I caught a glimpse of that thing in the middle of the night.
I made my friends sample the dates – which weren’t a big hit as you can see.
It’s not that the dates were bad but simply more because no one was really into dates in general. Of course there was no way I was going to let us walk out of there without sampling a date shake.
Much to our surprise it was really yummy! Everyone really liked it, especially my cousin Sarah who pretty much ate the entire thing in under 5 minutes.
I also got this veggie sandwich for $6.75 which came with chips and a little date desert bar, which was pretty yummy. I was totally impressed that they even had a vegetarian sandwich and the fact it was tasty was a nice bonus.
If you are in the Salton Sea area you should definitely stop in and check out the date farm. It is interesting in a very bizarre Salton Sea kind of way and after a day in the desert heat, the date shake is really pretty tasty.
For more info:
OASIS DATE GARDENS · 59-111 Grapefruit Blvd. – P.O. Box 757 · Thermal, California 92274 · 1.800.827.8017