Mommy Vegas Idea #2
Get Fresh in Vegas!
Sorry, I’m still giggling a bit about that title! 🙂 While intentionally ambiguous, I am of course talking about fresh produce. After the post about apple processing I figured it only fitting to explore some of the better places to get apples in the first place, as I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that not everyone has access to a family orchard. So here we go, best places we’ve found to acquire fresh produce in Las Vegas:
- The Obvious: Grocery Stores. While I love our neighborhood Smith’s, and I must admit it has excellent customer service and variety, very little of the produce is local, and barring an amazing sale, the prices are pretty average. If you are in to juicing, you have to check out Food-4-Less, you can get large quantities of produce for great prices, particularly when they run specials, but it’s not my favorite shopping experience. I will admit though, when the weekly mailer boasts 5/$1 avocados or $0.50/lb nectarines, I set my aversion aside and go shopping. Sometimes I come up with a sweet deal on kale, or tangerines, but I’ve been let down time and time again by inedible avocados, tiny little munchkin stone fruit with MASSIVE pits, and apples that lack flavor, which tends to make the deals a little less sweet. The best value I’ve found has been at the Mexican markets in town. Granted, you do have to be a little careful, because while I’ve had some really great luck, like Food-4-Less, I’ve also seen some questionable fare. Cardenas is a fun one, checkout what people are saying on Yelp!
- The Trendy: Farmers’ Markets. I don’t even have to buy anything to enjoy a good farmers’ market. Up until just a few years ago, I would have said, there really isn’t one to speak of here, but just recently they seem to be cropping up all over. You have to go in with the proper mindset though. You can’t expect a Las Vegas area farmers’ market to compare to a Pacific Northwest, California, or Midwest market; you’ll simply be left wanting. That being said, there is still a great time and some yummy eats to be had, pretty much any day of the week, most of the year. Here are a few fun ones we’ve tried in the past:
- Fresh52 – One of the bigger markets, they have several locations open Friday, Saturday or Sunday, we’ve only been to the one at Town Square (Fridays) to date, but have heard great things about Tivoli Village (maybe a future post?). Be sure to check out their website, this is a true treasure that many people have really put a lot of fine work into!
- Downtown 3rd (3rd Street Farmer’s Market)- This Friday market is located in the old bus depot. It’s mostly indoors, but be prepared, it still gets rather warm in the Summer months. There is often live entertainment and plenty of venders with ready-to-eat and prepared food, making this an excellent spot for a fun Friday lunch to kick off the weekend!
- Country Fresh Farmers Market – On Thursdays you can catch this market in the Henderson Events Plaza on Water Street in Downtown Old Henderson (sometimes you can spot us dancing in the water feature after snagging some lunch). Fridays, this market sets up shop off Green Valley Parkway just outside The Pavilion, in the same complex as the Paseo Verde Library and Multi-Generational Center. This market is a fairly small market so it may be worth pairing with a trip to the library or a dip in one of the Multi-Gen pools.
- THE EXPERIENCE: Gilcrease Orchard
Without question, the best all-around place to acquire inexpensive, fresh, local produce is the Orchard. Some may find it a little out of the way, as it is in the far Northwest of the Valley, off Tenaya a block north of Farm (7800 N. Tenaya), but if you’re looking for an inexpensive weekly outing, or maybe you want to stock-up on seasonal fruit or veggies to process in bulk, this is definitely the place.
There are truly countless learning moments to be had on this expansive property, whether it’s as simple as discovering eggplants do not grow “eggs” (one of our sillier moments!), or chasing down a rogue grasshopper just to check out those fantastic jumping legs, city kids will definitely get their fill of wonder at this beautiful historic site.
Be sure to check their website in advance or sign-up for their newsletter that arrives neatly in your email box once a week. They have a wide variety of fruits and veggies in the fields and orchard so come ready to work, because these treats don’t pick themselves! If you do happen to be in a hurry or just not in the mood to scavenge the rows, there are usually some great pre-picked options at checkout (though it varies by season, you may find melons, potatoes, onions, garlic, or squash), along with various fresh peanut/almond butters, ciders, honey and more.
Most fresh produce is $1/pound, with fresh leafy greens being slightly more, and melons, some squash and large zucchini being between $0.25 and $0.50/lb. The processed items, like peanut butter and cider, are not the cheapest around, but they’re definitely worth trying. Our faves are the apple cider and the Sweet and Gritty peanut butter.
Don’t forget the wagon, comfy shoes and bags or baskets for your finds!