Photo by Sarah Ventre - KJZZ Most people who pass through Dateland will recognize the shop where you can buy date shakes, and many other types of sweet treats made from dates. Hear more from our Untold Arizona series.
If you have ever driven to San Diego in the summer, chances are you have stopped in the unincorporated town of Dateland. It consists of date groves, an RV park, a travel center, a school that has a post office housed there, a few homes and an out of use military training airfield. Roland and Charna Walker are the owners of Dateland. One day, they saw on the news that you could buy the whole town It was advertised that way, but it is a small enough place that buying up a few properties, including its namesake date groves, is enough to have essentially bought up the whole thing.
Andrew Costanza works for a company that manages the farm in Dateland. The date palms have these long fronds with thorns on the end. They almost look like the tips of an agave, but longer. Like a lot of people in Arizona, these palms are not native to the Southwest.
They were brought into the area from Morocco in the s, and there really is no machinery used to cultivate and harvest these dates. Dethorning, pollination, picking - all of this is done by hand.
It's plump. It's actually a good fiber. It's just a tasty fruit," said Costanza.
Besides the date groves, Dateland used to be the site of a military airfield. And just outside of town were camps that allowed the military to train in harsh conditions during World War II. Some people say that Dateland was once home to an Italian internment camp, though KJZZ has never been able to find the records to prove it.
For most tourists, these sites fly under the radar. Instead, the big attraction is in the travel center, where customers browse T-shirts and tchotchkes, and look through all the different kinds of dates. Even though most varieties of dates make a perfectly fine snack on their own, Roland Walker has found plenty of uses for them.
But on that desolate stretch of Interstate 8 between Phoenix and Yuma, when the hot desert sun beats through your windshield, not much beats the cool, sweet taste of a date shake.
Medjool dates are the most popular of all the varieties. Medjool's are known as the king of dates, and this variety of date is known for being especially plump and sweet. Samples of different varieties of dates in the Dateland gift shop.
Roland Walker owns most of the property in the town of Dateland, along with his wife Charna Walker. A few of the products made from Dateland dates, including steak sauce. Long, sharp thorns cover part of the palm fronds. Dateland's namesake date groves. A monument to some of the military personnel who trained near Dateland. Dateland has a surprising military history and was once the site of a military airfield.
Most people who pass through Dateland will recognize the shop where you can buy date shakes, and many other types of sweet treats made from dates. Dateland sits on Interstate 8 between Phoenix and San Diego, and has become a popular stopping point for travelers making the drive. Your contact info We'll be in touch if we look into your question.
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