Visit a farmers market and you’ll never want to buy
tasteless grocery store produce again (I’m looking at you, tomatoes).
I believe the old truism, “Food is medicine,” and as a
result I’ve been spending more time at farmers markets lately. Eating more fruits and veggies is a good idea
no matter where you buy them, but if you want produce at the peak of its taste
and nutritional value, farmers markets are the way to go.
Tivoli Village Farmers Market
You can find farmers markets throughout the week at a
variety of places in the Las Vegas valley. While most of the produce comes from
California, you’ll find locally produced honey, eggs, herbs, and micro-greens. These
markets are small in comparison to what you’ll find in greener areas, so if you're looking for something on the scale of a farmers market in California or Oregon, dial down your expectations.
we’re in the desert, much of the food at our farmers markets comes from further
away than the locavore’s gold standard of being produced within 100 miles--but
the 400 miles between Vegas and Fresno is far less than the miles most produce travels
before hitting the grocery store shelves. It’s also been allowed to ripen
before being picked, which is why it all tastes so good.
Summertime’s bounty of fruits has just passed us, but we’ll
soon see apples and citrus (as my favorite fruit vendor told me a couple of
weeks ago). Can’t wait. My family is so excited to find out what fresh apples
Another way to get fresh produce is to pick it yourself at Gilcrease Orchard, or sign up for
which is a subscription-type service from a community farm. You can pick up
local eggs and honey on weekends at The
Farm, which is also an animal rescue, and you can check with the Vegas Roots Community Garden to
see what they have for sale.
I have to warn you: if you start shopping at farmers markets
and local farms/gardens, be prepared to work it into your weekly schedule.
Grocery store produce will start tasting like cardboard in comparison. Trust
me. I tried to make pico de gallo with grocery store tomatoes, and it just made
me sad. They were tasteless, watery, sorry excuses for tomatoes. Once your
taste buds get used to fruits and veggies with actual flavor, there’s no going
* * *
Here’s my current list of Las Vegas farmers markets. Keep in
mind that hours and locations may change, and weather is a factor for most
markets. Some markets may also close for winter and/or winter holidays. If you have corrections or additions, please leave them in the comments:
On the night of October 1, 2017, a gunman unleashed the
equivalent of machine gun fire into a crowd of 22,000 people who were gathered
on the Las Vegas Strip for a country music festival. For 10 minutes, he fired in bursts. At the time of this post, 58 people are dead and nearly 500 injured. Some remain in critical condition.
The gunman, Stephen Paddock, used his suite on the 32nd
floor of Mandalay Bay as a sniper’s perch to carry out this mass murder. He
killed himself before Metro’s SWAT team blew the door open. His motives are
still unknown. Details continue to emerge at each new press conference.
In the aftermath, the city remains in shock.
Like many people in Las Vegas, I woke up on Monday to
messages from friends and family who wanted to know if I was O.K. Their
messages sent me to the television, and from that point on, everything has felt
The magnitude of this crime is hard to get your mind around.
I’m still struggling.
Many people want to know what they can do. The blood banks currently
are stocked due to an overwhelming turnout of donors (although it's worth noting that United Blood Services has pointed out that blood will be an ongoing need). Ditto for donations of
water and food to the Red Cross and the assistance center set up at the
Convention Center, but you can visit Clark County's Emergency Information Page to find out where else you can donate and volunteer. Vegas Seven's page also has a listing of needs--Metro's Enterprise Area's Command is "In needs of lots of coffee," for instance. You can donate to the GoFundMe that Commission Chair Steve Sisolack and Sheriff Joe Lombardo started. Its initial goal was to
raise a few hundred thousand dollars for the victims and their families, and it's now close
to $10 million dollars. That’s not counting the $3 million that MGM Resorts
Because I, too, like to be helpful, I’m going to suggest two
things everyone can do that are free and can be done from the comfort of your home.
#1 - Don’t contribute to the spread of fake news and
By early afternoon on Monday, I had to go for a walk to take
a break from the news. While I was walking, I overhead a woman on the phone
telling someone she was sure the shooting was some kind of government
conspiracy. I’ve seen stories online insisting there was more than one shooter.
I even heard conjecture about whether or not the gunman was actually dead, but
that was before the crime scene photos were leaked. Please, don’t spread these stories.
I don’t personally know the people who are investigating
this heinous crime, but I know the kind of people they are because I worked for
Metro for 22 years. I know every piece of evidence is being carefully collected
and cataloged. I can’t even imagine how long the crime scene analysts must have
worked on the concert grounds. It’s mind boggling to think of the size of the
scene and how many locations were involved. The pictures I saw of the concert
grounds reminded me of a debris field from an airplane crash, although not as
large and with one notable exception: instead of body pieces, there were whole
bodies littering the grounds. It’s incomprehensible.
The authorities are working as fast as they can to piece
this all together. In the meantime, don’t spread disinformation. Make sure
you’re posting from a credible news source. Better yet, take a break from
social media and the news--it’s too easy to get sucked into the coverage of
this story and become overwhelmed.
#2 - Be a little extra kind.
While this might seem like a suggestion that applies pretty
much always, it’s particularly relevant in Las Vegas right now. We’re all in
this one together, folks. This tragedy has touched an immense number of people
in the valley and beyond. For all you know, that less-than-efficient grocery
store clerk you got today might have a loved one in critical condition. Or worse.
Anyone on the Strip on Sunday at the time of the shooting
was affected, even those who weren’t at the concert.
One of my husband’s friends was at the Bellagio on Sunday
night when the first wave of 40 or 50 people fleeing the massacre burst into
the casino. A second wave hit, and the Bellagio prepared to put the property on
lock-down, but this man wasn’t having any of that. He’d heard the shooter had a
machine gun, and he had no intention of being herded into a ballroom, which was
in the process of happening. People thought the shooter (or shooters--no one
knew) was on foot and headed in their direction. “I wasn’t going to be a fish
in a barrel,” he said, and he and his friends started looking for ways out of
He and his pals wound up searching for an exit through
employee-only areas, surprising (and scaring) groups of employees they
encountered in the process. Finally finding an exit, he and some of his friends
made their way to the Rio, where he called someone to come get him. Some other members
of his group were separated in the scramble to get out, and those folks spent
the night hiding in a pool-side cabana at Caesars Palace.
Impressively, he still made it to work on Monday morning.
Las Vegas, keep standing strong. In the immortal words of
I get knocked down, but I get up again You are never gonna keep me down
Nothing will keep our city down, not even this heinous
Keep that middle finger attitude, my friends.
#VegasStrong ____________________ I'm not sure who to credit for this graphic. If anyone knows the original source, please leave it in the comments. You can visit these pages for for more information and resources:
If the neon boulders at Seven Magic Mountains remind you of the colorful rock formations found throughout the Southwestern United States, you understand what the artist had in mind.
Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains inspires strong reactions. I’ve read both derisive comments that question its artistic merit and enthusiastic reviews extolling the giant land art. I recently visited the piece one Sunday afternoon and found the area full of happy people who were snapping pictures and exploring the stacks of boulders. Whatever the detractors may say, the people I saw were enjoying the sight of Seven Magic Mountains, situated with the dry lake bed of Jean on one side and I15 on the other.
So, is Seven Magic Mountains “art”? I’ve read plenty of comments from people who think it’s not. That begs the question: What is art? To me, it’s creative work that inspires, enlightens, informs or delights. For some people, it’s all about technical mastery or technique, and they only see art in things like a Renaissance painting or a Rodin sculpture. That’s the thing about art: it’s subjective. Rondinone took five years to create Seven Magic Mountains, which is built from locally-sourced limestone boulders. According to an interview with the artist in Art News, he took inspiration from hoodoos and the “meditation practice of balancing stones.”
Some of the most striking pictures I've seen of the piece were taken at sunrise or sunset when the towers are standing alone in the desert. But on the day I visited, the presence of people made it feel like a mini-festival. My hubby, our dog Gigi, and I walked from a crowded parking lot down a short desert path filled with a stream of people. A woman in front of us was carrying a little drone, which we later got to watch fly as we walked around the boulders.
Not long after we arrived, a tour helicopter flew in, buzzing in a quick arc around the towers before turning and zipping back toward town.
Nearby on I15, the cars and trucks were speeding by. Despite their 30-35 foot height, the stacks are dwarfed by the vastness of the Mojave, which appeared an obvious metaphor for Las Vegas. I loved seeing people wandering around in the desert, taking pictures of not just Seven Magic Mountains, but of the landscape around them. Whether or not you like Rondinone’s artistry, you have to acknowledge the magnificence of the place where it sits.
Seven Magic Mountains is planned to be on display for two years. It opened May 11, 2016. Background Note: For those who are concerned about taxpayer funds being spent for the project, don’t worry--Jane Ann Morrison at the RJ reported that of the $3.5 million it cost, only $100,000 came from taxpayer monies via the Nevada Commission on Tourism. That makes sense to me, considering the international attention the installation has drawn. The rest of the funds were raised from donations. Have you been to Seven Magic Mountains?
Over the Thanksgiving holiday my family and I took a road
trip to Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly. I wanted to be in wide open
spaces with spotty cell-phone coverage, travel on roads the GPS couldn’t find,
and see stunning natural beauty and ancient cliff dwellings.
I scored on three out of four: sadly, cell phone coverage
was pretty consistent throughout the trip.
Day One - Las Vegas to Chinle
The route: I15 north to 9 in Utah, then across a series of smaller roads eastward. In Kayenta, Arizona, we picked up 163 to Monument Valley proper. At the
visitor center we took the scenic dirt road through the valley at sunset for as
long as we could see it in the fading light. After leaving the visitor center,
we turned back on 163 and followed it to 191, where we headed southward to
Total miles: approximately 439
Hours on the road: 10
We planned this trip along the most scenic route we could take,
given our time constraints. You could easily spend a week or two
(or more) along the route we traveled, if you took the time to explore
the side trips in the region.
We, however, had a limited amount of time to get from Vegas
to Chinle, and our biggest desire for the first day was to see Monument Valley.
The last time I’d been there, it was still a remote place,
easy to spot from the highway because there weren’t many roads or buildings.
This time, the presence of people was apparent. It’s not visited
on the same scale as the Grand Canyon’s South Rim or Yosemite, but a lot of people
are finding their way to this magnificent place. Adjacent to the visitor center
there’s even a hotel, The View Hotel, which gives guests a sweeping view of the
“When you said we’d see ‘rock formations,’ you didn’t say
anything about the size,” my son said as we gazed at Monument Valley’s
distinctive buttes, spires, and mesas.
The light here is stunning against the towering rocks,
especially at sunset with the advancing shadows adding an intense contrast in
colors. After the sun set, the sky gave us a ribbon of pink and blue on the
horizon as a backdrop to the red rock spires, which held onto their distinctive
colors well after the sun was down.
After Monument Valley, we hit the road to Chinle, (shin-lay)
and were soon enveloped in total darkness. We could almost see the Milky Way
from the tinted windows of the car, but we couldn’t see anything else. I’d love
to drive this road during the daylight to see what else this area holds.
Day Two: Chinle to Flagstaff
The route: In Chinle, we traveled both the North Rim Drive
and South Rim Drive to each of the ten overlooks of Canyon de Chelly National
Monument. We then backtracked to 191, and connected with 264 west into Tuba
City, picking up a short stretch of 160 before turning southward toward
Flagstaff along 89.
Miles: 237, plus 71 miles in Canyon de Chelly
Hours exploring and on the road: approximately 9
In the morning we watched the cows grazing in the field
adjacent to our hotel as we loaded up the car. The rooms at the Holiday Inn were
wonderfully comfortable and clean, and the entrance to Canyon de Chelly was so
close we almost could have walked there.
The restaurant at the hotel had as many locals in the early
morning as tourists. The gift shop had a full display of Tony Hillerman books,
and at breakfast I spotted one tourist avidly reading one of the author’s
popular detective novels set in the Navajo Nation and surrounding areas.
After breakfast we headed directly to Canyon de Chelly. Our
first stop was at the visitor center, where we verified the pronunciation of
the name: Canyon de “Shay,” not “Shelly.” I picked up a map and NPS guide before we set off to explore both rims of the Monument, which encompasses both Canyon
de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto.
The Navajo still live here, both along the rims and in the
canyon. Traditional hogans are a common sight, and many roads are marked as
private. Visitors need to be respectful of the fact that these aren’t all
public lands--this is home to many families.
To enter the canyon floor, you must have an authorized
guide, unless you hike down into the canyon along the White House Trail, which
starts at White House Overlook and leads to one of the ruins. It’s a 2.5 mile hike, 600 feet down and back along switchbacks, and takes about two hours round
Our first look at Canyon de Chelly was at the Tunnel
Overlook, where a man was selling hand-made wares from his car, a common sight
in this region. The path down to the viewing platform is steep, and my husband
chose to skip it and chat with the artist while I inspected the view. The
canyon’s not so deep here, close to its mouth, but eventually attains a depth
of about 1,000 feet.
The depth and majesty of
the canyon starts to show at Tsegi Overlook. This was where I began saying, frequently, “Please
step back from the edge of the canyon,” or some variation thereof. (Also spoken
often: “No, not funny. Not funny at all.”)
“That’s a lot of down,” my son observed, peering down. You
will not find an abundance of rails or walls here to keep you from exploring right
up to the edge of the cliffs. Posted signs warn you to keep your kids and pets
under control, but sheer drop-offs are everywhere. It’s a little scary and one
of my favorite parts of tribal lands in the Southwest.
Each overlook provided a new and stunning view into the
valley below, where ancient ruins exist next to small farms and stands of trees.
The day was icy cold and clear, with ravens and hawks soaring above and below us,
taunting me to take their pictures.
The history of the canyon is long, and some of it is quite
sobering. It’s been inhabited for 5,000 years, including the years during which
we waged war on the Native Americans. According to the informational pamphlet: “In
1863, Col. Kit Carson began a brutal campaign against the Navajo. In the winter
of 1864 Carson’s troops entered the eastern end of Canyon de Chelly and pushed
the Navajo toward the canyon mouth. Resistance proved futile; most Navajo were
captured or killed. Carson’s forces returned in the spring.... They destroyed
the remaining hogans and orchards, and killed the sheep.”
This happened during the Long Walk, the forced
300-mile march of Navajos to Fort Sumner in New Mexico. The forced walk and subsequent
internment resulted in the loss of thousands of Navajo lives. After four years
of exile, the remaining Navajo were allowed to return to their homeland. When
you know the history, it’s hard to forget when exploring the canyon.
We left Canyon de Chelly late in the afternoon and headed
toward Flagstaff. Instead of dropping down to I40, we took 264 across Navajo
and Hopi land. We saw huge expanses of country filled with mesas and rock
formations. Homesteads dotted the landscape, where cattle, sheep, and horses
grazed. Few other vehicles were on the road, mostly pick-up trucks.
After the sun had set in a spectacular blaze of orange and
gold in a cloudless sky, we turned southward toward Flagstaff. As we started to
climb into the mountains, we pulled over and took a few moments in the 28
degree weather to stare at the night sky, filled with stars and a fabulously
visible Milky Way. It had been years since I’d seen the Milky Way. In Las Vegas,
light pollution has bleached the stars from the sky.
We talked about going to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff,
but after we checked into the hotel, got lost (twice) trying to find a
restaurant, and finally had dinner at the retro Galaxy Diner, it was too late.
Something for the “next time” list.
Day Three: Flagstaff to Las Vegas
The route: I40 to just past Ash Fork, where we picked up Route 66,
which we took into Kingman. Then we grabbed 93 home to Las Vegas.
Hours on the road: 5
By day three, we were all ready to get home. No matter how
much spectacular scenery we’d seen, everyone was ready to be out of the car.
First stop: Matador Coffee, the coffee shop we’d driven past
several times while we were lost the night before. It’s a little local place in
a remodeled car repair garage. The food and coffee were great, but the only
downside was that we wound up eating in the car. There wasn’t much seating and
not much (if anything) in the way of heating, and it was about 27 degrees out. I
noticed the temperature didn’t deter the line of bundled-up people waiting for
coffee and food.
We headed out of Flagstaff west on I40 until we grabbed an
exit onto Historic Route 66. The old road runs in a semi-circle, roughly parallel to I40 from
around Ash Fork all the way into Kingman. Beyond that, you can continue on into
Oatman and all the way to Topock, and in California the road picks up again
just off I40 along the Mojave Preserve’s southern border.
We were only going as far as Kingman, with one stop at the Hackberry General Store.
As Route 66 unfurled in front of us, I saw dozens of places
ripe for photographs: ruins, horses, memorabilia shops, and kitsch galore...
more stops for the “later” list.
I’ve stopped in Hackberry many times over the years, and
it’s always a fun place to photograph. This time was no different. Loads of
vintage cars and Route 66 memorabilia fill the grounds. It’s hard to resist
buying a souvenir here.
After our short stop, it was only about two hours
until we pulled into our driveway. That’s the moment we enjoyed one of the best
parts about any trip: getting home.
On the history of Canyon de Chelly and the Navajo:
I found this account of the Long Walk as related by Navajo
elders. It includes the story of Fortress Rock, where the Navajos who refused
to surrender hid atop the rock and outlasted the troops who had been left to wait them out,
presuming the Navajo would run out of food or water.
The Navajo did run out of water, but waited until nightfall
on a full moon to create a human chain down the rock to a water source,
silently collecting and passing water up the chain of people. Although the holdouts
outlasted the troops, they were also eventually captured and forced on the Long
Main Street was once the place to go for things like cheap
furniture and upholstery supplies. Today it’s home to several vintage and
antique shops, plus some impressive street art.
When I walk into many of the shops on Main Street, it’s like
a trip back in time. It’s delightful, except it’s a little unsettling that I
own (and still use) some of the things I’ve found for sale.
This display kitchen at Retro Vegas, for instance, holds
several objects that are very familiar to me. See that little folding stool by the counter, in the corner? I
have an identical one at home, inherited in the few things left from my
childhood home in the Charleston Park area Downtown.
If you’ve seen the movie “Casino,” you’ve seen what I call
Vintage Vegas style. The look is heavy on orange, olive, glass, and gold in a
mid-century style that’s actually pretty cool. It saw its apex during the 70s.
I think the earlier, slightly less gaudy 1960s style is cooler, but it’s a
little harder to find. Retro Vegas is filled with vintage pieces from prior
While Vegas-centric items are the focus of several Main
Street stores, that’s certainly not all you’ll find in the way of shops. Case
in point: Las Vegas Oddities and Antiquities, which is light on Vegas-themed
items but has everything from fine art to skulls.
Modern Mantiques has a great combination of vintage and interesting
items. My favorite piece here was a metal dragon sculpture. “Look, it’s your
spirit animal,” my son said.
JJC Clocks & Antiques is full of clocks (of course), but
also has an area filled with an assortment of vintage and antique pieces
alongside unexpected things, like this elephant.
The number of ash trays in most stores is astonishing. It’s
a reminder that everyone smoked everywhere all the time from the 60s through
the 80s. Ash trays were functional and decorative. Today, the prettier ones
have survived and can be re-purposed, unless you’re using them for their
original purpose. This is one I have, and I think it's way too pretty for cigarette ashes.
When you’re wandering down Main Street from store to store,
you see plenty of street art along the side streets. It’s one of the best
reasons to walk to a few shops.
It’s nice to see a mix of businesses in the area. The
vintage shops are neighbors to car repair shops, restaurants, plumbers, tattoo
parlors and other businesses that are hold-overs from Main Street’s prior life.
The word “gentrification” gets mentioned a lot when talking
about this part of town. Personally, I like it the way it is, but everything
changes, especially in Las Vegas. In August, LV Weekly featured a piece on Main Street, complete with an artistic conceptualization of how the new, redesigned,
one-way Main Street will look like after road construction is done (whenever
that may be). I’m sure it will be pretty, but I’ll admit I’m a big fan of
authentic grittiness when it comes to my home town. But I have hope we’ll get it
right, something like what has happened along Fremont East.
An afternoon on Main Street is sure to be entertaining, especially
if you’re hunting for a specific hard-to-find item, or if you’re of a certain
age and remember seeing this stuff when it first came out. If you dislike
glossy newness and cookie-cutter things, Main Street Las Vegas is the place
Are you a vintage and
antique shop lover?
Perhaps not coincidentally,
the owners of Retro Vegas own a home that was once an embodiment of the Vegas
Vintage style in every way. A few years ago I read a story in Las Vegas Weeklyabout the owners’ purchase of the former home of Doyle Brunson (also once the
residence of Jackie Gaughan), a place I knew well once since I was friends with
Brunson’s daughters when we were kids. It’s an amazing house that was once
filled with furnishings that would fit right into its current owners’ shop.