Conventional supermarkets may have their benefits (Albertsons fried chicken, for example), but Las Vegas is long overdue for food-shopping options that satisfy locavores. Luckily, this season brings a proliferation of farmers markets old and new, big and small, and in locations conveniently located throughout town.
Supporting local food producers has never been easier.
The lineup of vendors at the Las Vegas Farmers Market is small, but just enough to satisfy all tastes. Pick up meat from local sausage-maker Tassoni’s, produce from Joe Van Dyke farms and dessert from Summerlin baking company Sugar’s—then store it all in the car while you sit on the grass with a syrup-soaked Snow Ono shave ice. 4-8 p.m., Bruce Trent Park, 1600 N. Rampart Blvd., LasVegasFarmersMarket.com.
Founded by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, Bet on the Farm! is a hidden gem for exotic edibles. Not sure what to do with freshly foraged wild mushrooms, limequats or salsify? You can also pick up more familiar staples: local eggs, herbs grown in nearby Pahrump and chili peppers picked straight from the patch in Henderson. 10 a.m.-3 p.m., in Springs Preserve, no admission fee, 333 S. Valley View Blvd., BetOnTheFarm.com.
An ambitious project by “Intuitive Forager” Kerry Clasby and Fifth Street Gaming, the new Downtown 3rd Farmers Market has transformed the city’s former bus depot into a foodie paradise. Grab some lunchtime grub from the food trucks parked outside, then pick up fresh produce for a home-cooked dinner. This downtown destination promises to give Whole Foods a run for its money. 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Third Street between Stewart and Ogden avenues, Downtown3rd.com.
Those with no time to shop during the week can get their farm-fresh food fix at Fresh 52. Peruse the crafts and tchotchke stands if you please, but the highlight is the Walk In—an indoor section for seasonal goodies. Take home vegetables from Las Vegas’ own Gilcrease Orchard, a rustic loaf from Bon Breads, and a basket of California berries, and you have the makings of a perfect springtime meal. 8 a.m.-1 p.m., in Tivoli Village, 302 S. Rampart Blvd.; Sundays 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., in Sansone Park Plaza, 9480 S. Eastern Ave., Fresh52.com.
Forte European Tapas Bar & Bistro has carved a niche for itself with an eclectic menu of Eastern European small plates. Now owner Nina Manchev wants you to take the experience home. Her new Sunday market features fresh produce and crafts, but the draw will be artisanal foods prepared in-house. Sample breads, pastries and prepared savory items that reflect Manchev’s Bulgarian roots. The market closes as the restaurant begins service, so you can also stay for a bite before hauling your goods home. 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 4180 S. Rainbow Blvd., BarForte.com.