Click here to hear ELV comment on the Farmer’s Markets trend that has even made it’s way to the High Mojave — although from the offerings at the Downtown Farmer’s Market, one might conclude Las Vegans seem more entranced with kettle corn than the difference between Silver Queen and Platinum Lady.
Or if you don’t have a notion to listen to ELV speak these pronouncements — dripping as they are with wit, insight and profundity — you can read the script after the jump.
BET THE FARM ON BATALI
Two things I never thought I’d see in the High Mojave Desert, in my lifetime, are now taking place every week in our humble burg.
They both started about a month ago, and both are all about celebrating sensible, locavore eating habits. They’re also a celebration of local agriculture – something I’ve derided in the past as something unheard of in a place that gets three inches of rain a year. But lo and behold, every Friday night on east Fremont Street for the rest of the summer, and every Thursday at 7485 Dean Martin Drive, there’s gonna be two Farmer’s Markets for you to explore for local produce, fruits, breads, and herbs.
The Las Vegas Farmer’s Market is a joint production of The Fremont East District and the City, and to our way of thinking is possessed of too much kettle corn and not enough of the real stuff. By that I mean, jewelry and junk food are just fine as long as stuff straight from the ground is the real star of the show. And barbecue and bric a brac are beauteous, but only if they’re playing second fiddle to something besides fiddle faddle.
Still, it’s a start, and having crowds appear to fondle fruit instead of each other is a beautiful thing in this, the least agriculturally-friendly place in America.
6 months ago when Jeffery Steingarten of Vogue magazine told me there was this local chef named Zach Allen, who worked with Mario Batali, who was actively finding local growers and farmers to supply the three Batali restaurants in town, I told him he was crazy.
And I thought he was until last Thursday at the Palazzo, when I saw about a dozen purveyors of fruits and vegetables – and great breads courtesy of Bon Bread Baking Co. – setting up shop for the a celebration of the bounty (yes, I said “bounty”) available from local producers of good things to eat.
Part the work of Allen and Batali, and sustainable forager Kerry Clasby, this chef-oriented market has what the downtown one doesn’t – meaning a serious commitment from growers (from Gilcrease Orchards, to farms from Sandy Valley to Overton) to continue supplying those who want to taste and buy their goods.
All of which begs the question: why is the chef-driven market so much better stocked with fresh veggies and fruits than the downtown one. Methinks the main reason is Mario and his chef friends know there’s a market for their market with those who cook the food for thousands of visitors a day, whereas the only thing the organizers of the Downtown market know is that there will always be a market for kettle corn.
The two organizers really need to meet and talk to each other….so allow me to use this time and space to make an introduction: Mr. Allen and Mr. Batali meet Downtown Las Vegas. Downtown, please meet someone who knows how to make things happen. You two should talk. This town probably isn’t big enough for da boat ‘o yuze, but join forces and you might make beautiful, tasty and sustainable music together.