Black sphinx dates are only grown in one grove in the entire world! The first sphinx date was propagated in Phoenix, Arizona from a single chance seedling around 1917. The only way to produce more of this variety was to wait for the first tree to produce offshoots, which takes about 10 years, and then it takes another 10 years before those offshoots can produce some. It took about 25 years to propagate the 450 offshoots necessary to produce the existing grove. The original grove was owned by Frank Brophy Sr. and John McChesney.
In 1953, the grove was changed radically when it was turned into a subdivision. By 1956, the grove was turned over to the homeowners to maintain the date trees. The main ranch property was sold.
Over the years, the homeowners either took care of their own trees, or had local date growers manage the trees for them.
In 2005, the Arizona Tree Council recognized and awarded the grove as a "Great Tree Grove of Arizona".
During his administration, President Eisenhower would purchases the black sphinx dates to give as gifts to his closest friends and family every Christmas.
The trees now average approximately 40 feet in height, making the process of pollination, thinning, bagging and harvest extremely labor intensive.
Unlike medjool dates, which compromise the bulk of the dates eaten in the US today, black sphinx dates are a wet date. They are much softer and melt in your mouth. Many customers like to use them in smoothies because they lack the more dense fiber that other dates tend to have.
We tell people that these are the best dates in the world, hands down, and it sounds like a sale pitch, but most customers agree after they try them.