Black Sphinx dates are still amazing!

I picked up my third flat of Black Sphinx dates from Erica’s house today. She said they had 3 more flats (12 1-pound boxes per flat). After that, she expected to harvest 4 more flats and then that’s it for this year.

Thank goodness for Erica!

Harry, the guy who worked the date grove for decades, got Parkinson’s and had to stop working the trees. BTW, last winter when I saw Harry he was in amazingly good spirits although he was having some difficulty walking.

Anyway, I’m totally nuts about Black Sphinx dates. They’re fresh, not dried like every other date. Think of the difference between grapes and raisins or plums and prunes. The fresh fruit is entirely different from the dried fruit.

Erica lives in the Date Grove in Arcadia (where I used to live) and works some trees in her yard and maybe some neighbors’ trees, I’m not sure.

Crazy Date Santa Claus

Thank goodness for Erica, otherwise, I wouldn’t have gotten any Black Sphinx dates this year.

I’ve been having a complete blast being a crazy “Date Santa Claus” handing out dates to my friends and family!

Fruitful Gifts

In fact, I loved the dates so much I had a mail order business called “Fruitful Gifts” in the late 1990s and my signature product was Black Sphinx dates, although I sold them under my trademarked name, “Celebration” dates.

Here’s the story of the origin of Black Sphinx dates from the 2000 “Fruitful Gifts” online catalog.

Newspaper Quotes

My main marketing idea was to send samples to food writers at the top U.S. newspapers and, honestly, many writers LOVED them.

“Melts in your mouth”
Sunset Magazine

“Could anything this rich, dark and luscious really not be chocolate?”
Chicago Sun-Times

“May be the country’s most exquisite natural food”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“They literally melt in your mouth”
Dallas Morning News

“Luscious treats”
San Jose Mercury News

“Super-creamy, delicate treasures”
Salt Lake Tribune

“Rich, creamy and melt in your mouth”
Denver Post

“As different from dried dates as grapes are from raisins”
Houston Chronicle

Not Lost Yet

Unfortunately, I couldn’t make a go of the business.

Fortunately, Erica is still working a few trees and this native Phoenix date variety hasn’t been lost… yet.

To Buy Some Black Sphinx Dates

I don’t know of anyone else selling Black Sphinx dates.

If you would like to buy some, you’ll have to call Erica very soon and arrange to pick them up at Erica’s house in the Date Grove in Arcadia. They’re $8 per ~1 pound box. Contact me for her phone number.

See also “Save the Date – Black Sphinx Dates”.

P.S. I promise to get back to Phoenix real estate market analysis very soon!


SOLD. Great 5-bedroom home in Gilbert AZ. Check out the pool!

Now Priced $15K Below Appraisal!

It won’t last long at this price.
5 bedrooms + 3 full baths + Formal dining room + Living room + Family room + Loft + Gorgeous backyard

LARGE KITCHEN with NEW granite countertops and travertine backsplash, kitchen island with breakfast bar, plus breakfast room, stainless steel style appliances & huge walk-in pantry! All baths updated with NEW tile shower surrounds. Master bath has tub, walk-in shower with dual shower heads and shower bench seat. NEW flooring throughout – ceramic tile and carpeting. GORGEOUS BACKYARD – beautiful pool with water shears, natural gas barbecue and cooking counter, custom landscaping, adobe stone pool decking and patio (all NEW in 2006). Energy-saving sunscreens. Interior and exterior completely painted with top quality paint 2 years ago.


Gilbert AZ Home for Sale with Pool

Call your real estate agent to schedule a tour or call me at (480) 463-4475. John Wake, HomeSmart


Lower home sales caused by higher rates

Makes sense. Even though rates are incredibly low, they’re significantly higher than last spring. It’s the delta.

“Changes in fundamentals such as rising mortgage rates can account for much of the sluggishness in existing home sales over the past year,” Krainer said. Home resales have slowed sharply since the second half of 2013, declining in seven of the eight months through March. They peaked in July.

Mortgage rates started trending higher last May in anticipation of the Federal Reserve scaling back its monthly bond-purchasing program. The 30-year fixed rate increased by about a percentage point from last May, when it was 3.54 percent, to its most recent peak of 4.49 percent in September. It has since dropped to average about 4.34 percent in April.

On the good side, he thinks, “As the moderate recovery continues and these factors begin to dissipate, all forms of housing market activity, including existing home sales, should post more solid growth.”

Full article.


Phoenix Real Estate Market at a Glance – May 2014 Report

John Wake analyses the Phoenix real estate market using Phoenix MLS (Multiple Listing Service) data. The metro Phoenix MLS comes out with new data each month on the number of homes sold, the median price of the homes sold, the number of unsold homes listed for sale, and the number of new listings that hit the Phoenix market each month. See all past “Phoenix Real Estate Market at a Glance” reports on a single page.

May 2014


  • INVENTORY. The inventory of homes listed for sale in metro Phoenix FINALLY leveled off in April and May. In a typical year, the inventory would fall from February through June but this year the inventory actually increased sharply in February and increased a bit in March instead of falling. That’s huge. I didn’t expect that. The strong home price increases in 2012 and the first half of 2013 apparently made home sellers a lot more enthusiastic about selling while the higher prices (and higher interest rates since last spring) made home buyers less enthusiastic about buying.
  • PRICES. The median home price in Metro Phoenix rose a bit in April to $190,000 (all homes), however, I know from looking at zip code data that the median price has fallen slightly in some zip codes over the last few months. The unexpectedly weak high season suggests a weak summer and fall for prices. I’m thinking this morning that metro Phoenix home prices will generally drift slightly lower during the second half of the year.
  • This would be a good time for banks to loosen their unnecessarily tight lending standards.

Interactive Chart


Please forgive the confusion about the “Canadian Tutorial”

Sadly, the Canadian Tutorial is not, in fact, a tutorial on how to be a Canadian despite how incredibly valuable that would be to the world.

And the Canadian Tutorial is not a tutorial about how to buy an Arizona home written in Canadian.

It is, in fact, a “7-Step Tutorial for Canadians on How to Buy an Arizona Home” written in American.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Please leave your comments and insights below.


Arizona Fruit & Vegetable Harvest Calendar

I got some emails requesting that I indeed take a photo of the old Arizona Harvest Calendar I have on my fridge but, even better, I found these online.

Knowing what’s in season in Arizona is important because fruit and vegetable quality and price are both usually best when in-season.

Great combination – best quality AND lowest price at the same time! That doesn’t happen with many products.

Better Produce = Eating More Produce = Better Health

Arizona Fruit Harvest Calendar

Arizona Fruit Harvest Calendar

Arizona Vegetable Harvest Calendar

Arizona Vegetable Harvest Calendar

Printable Version


Source: Arizona Specialty Crop Guide.

Let me know if you think this post was worthwhile or just an annoying, off-topic distraction.

Two people unsubscribed after the previous “Arizona Grown” post so the topic may just annoy readers looking for Phoenix real estate market news.