California’s has a long list of official state symbols: flower, animal, reptile, sport, tree, motto and even an official state nut.
Most Californians know California’s official State Flower is the California poppy, Eschscholzia californica: On March 2, 1903 the California Poppy became the official state flower of California (Ca. Government Code Section 421).
The California grizzly bear was designated official State Animal in 1953.
California has an official State Folk Dance: Square dancing.
Our official State fabric is denim, and we even have our own official State California Tartan.
The saber-toothed cat is the official State Fossil. The California dogface butterfly is the official State Insect. And the San Joaquin Soil was designated as the official state soil in 1997.
The California State Library lists all of California’s official state symbols.
Now, one lawmaker wants to name an official State Milkshake – the Date Shake.
It’s not as silly as it sounds because there is a reason: Date shakes are often referred to as the “unofficial drink of the Coachella Valley.”
Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), has gutted and amended Assembly Bill 868 swapping out “State of Emergency: funeral expense assistance” for “State milkshake: date shakes.”
According to Garcia’s bill, date shakes are indigenous to the Coachella Valley in California, and are made with dates from the valley.
Anyone who has traveled throughout the Coachella Valley will see date shake shops, especially along Highway 111.
Garcia says many small desert towns in the Coachella Valley rely on the date shakes for tourism and jobs.
Even Sunset Magazine did a feature article on the Date Shake in 2004:
“…at Hadley’s Fruit Orchard in Cabazon ― just off Interstate 10 on a flat valley floor next to an outlet mall, I experienced my first date shake. It was as thick and smooth as I’d anticipated, with chewy bits of date skin and an intense honey flavor. I realized that Hadley’s was just the pearly gate to the date heaven I was seeking. I bought some dates and continued on.
Most of the domestic date industry is in the Coachella Valley east of Indio, but many companies sell shakes at their stores in Palm Springs and Indio (visitor centers can help you locate stores). I had creamy shakes, nutty ones, and others so sweet they were sappy. I gathered tips and recipes, saw a movie on the sex life of date palms (at Shields Date Gardens in Indio), and amassed dates with which to concoct shakes at home.”
We contacted Assemblyman Garcia’s office to ask how this proposed new State Symbol came about. We assumed there must be a good story behind this and offered to cover the bill: was it local lore, or did local growers propose this? We initially received a response from Garcia’s office saying they would gather information, but sadly they never got back to us.
With such a popular, delicious and healthy shake, we don’t think Assemblyman Garcia will have any trouble getting this bill passed.
Palm Springs Life wrote a fantastic article in 2018 on the history of dates in the Coachella Valley – enjoy!
Here is the bill:
|AMENDED IN SENATE APRIL 04, 2022|
|AMENDED IN SENATE JUNE 25, 2021|
|AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY MAY 24, 2021|
|AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY MARCH 18, 2021|
CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION
Introduced by Assembly
February 17, 2021
An act to add Chapter 7.2 (commencing with Section 8670) to Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code, relating to emergency services. An act to add Section 424.8 to the Government Code, relating to state government.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
AB 868, as amended, Eduardo Garcia.
State of emergency: funeral expense assistance. State milkshake: date shakes.
Existing law establishes the state flag and the state’s emblems, including surfing as the official state sport.
This bill would establish the date shake as the official state milkshake.
The California Emergency Services Act authorizes the Governor to declare a state of emergency when specified conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist, and authorizes the Governor or the appropriate local government to exercise certain powers in response to that emergency. This bill would require the State Department of Social Services to provide, to a person that applies for funeral expense assistance, for eligible funeral home contract costs, as defined, incurred by the person for a decedent who died due to COVID-19 on or after March 4, 2020, or who died as a result of an emergency that is the basis of a state of emergency declared by the Governor on or after January 1, 2022, as described. The bill would require a person seeking funeral expense assistance to contact a nonprofit organization selected by the department to complete an application for such assistance. The bill would require a nonprofit organization selected by the department to conduct intake for funeral expense assistance, and to process applications, developed by the department, on a first-come-first-served basis. The bill would require the application to include specified information, including a certification that eligible funeral home contract costs have not been fully paid for by other public or private sources and that, for eligible funeral home contract costs related to COVID-19 or to a state of emergency also declared by the federal government for which Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance is available, a certification that the applicant is ineligible for FEMA assistance due to immigration status. The bill would provide that any use, by an applicant, of false certification is punishable as a misdemeanor. By creating a new crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. This bill would require the department to review and approve completed applications by regions designated by the department and in the order the nonprofit organization assisted and completed the application for the person seeking funeral expense assistance. The bill would require the department to award, upon receipt of a completed application that fulfills the bill’s requirements, $5,000 or the amount of the eligible funeral home contract costs for the decedent, whichever is less, for each decedent. This bill would create the Emergency Funeral Expenses Fund for purposes of implementing the bill’s provisions. The bill would make moneys in the fund available only upon appropriation by the Legislature. The bill would also require the department to allocate moneys for each region designated by the department based on the percentage of low-income individuals in the region and to achieve equitable distribution of funds for underserved regions. This bill would require the department to recapture an award of funds to cover funeral home contract costs that were improperly awarded to a person due to the person’s intentional or unintentional misrepresentation of information on their application for funds. The bill would also require a person to pay an administrative fine of $100 if the person intentionally and materially misrepresents information on an application for funds pursuant to the bill’s provisions. The bill would require recaptured moneys and fines to be deposited into the Emergency Funeral Expenses Fund. This bill would make the operation of these provisions subject to appropriation by the Legislature. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: majority Appropriation: no Fiscal Committee: yes Local Program:
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Date shakes are a type of milkshake made with dates and originated in the Coachella Valley in California.
(b) One particular method of making date shakes was invented in 1936 by Shields Date Garden located in the City of Indio. The method involves the use of date crystals, which are dried “nubbins” of dates that are sweetened with date sugar. The crystals are then mixed with water to create a paste before being blended with other ingredients.
(c) Throughout the Coachella Valley, there are numerous date shake shops, especially along Highway 111.
(d) Many small desert towns in the Coachella valley rely on the date shakes for tourism and jobs.
(e) Date shakes are often referred to as the “unofficial drink of the Coachella Valley.”
(f) Date shakes are a popular drink at the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival, as well as during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which is colloquially known throughout the world as Coachella Fest.
(g) Date shakes are high in fiber, iron, potassium, and niacin.
Section 424.8 is added to the Government Code, to read:
The date shake is the official state milkshake.