Saturday, March 6, 2010

China Ranch Date Farm

Just last night we were celebrating my friend Phyllis's birthday and some friends were talking about their recent visit to China Ranch Date Farm. Phyllis and I also visited the ranch on our wonderful Tecopa trip, so this blog post is the final installment about that trip!

China Ranch is remote. To get there, you wind down a narrow, steep canyon road. At the bottom it's like another world. The property got its name from a Chinaman who farmed it successfully around the turn of the last century. The dates came later, in the 1920s. Today the ranch is owned by descendants of the folks who first planted the dates.

This building holds a big gift shop along with a counter where you can get date shakes. The date nut bread is to die for! Just around the corner there's a bed and breakfast where you can stay either indoors or in teepees.

Instead of putting bags over the dates on the trees like other date farms do, China Ranch uses cast-off clothes from thrift stores. Desert ingenuity at work!

A new addition to the ranch is "A Modest Museum." Inside are photographs, artifacts, and tales of ranch history told with wry humor. There's also this box of rocks accompanied by the following poem: