Friday, July 15, 2011 | 2 a.m.
Las Vegans can get straight-from-the-farm food downtown at the new farmers market. The Fremont East District farmers market opened for business Thursday with more than a dozen tables from Southern Nevada growers.
The market will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays at Azul Nightclub at Seventh Street and Ogden Avenue behind the El Cortez.
Market founder Gina Gavan said the area needed a fresh food outlet.
“We were really just listening to the need of the community and trying to bring people together downtown,” said Gavan, who last year founded Project Dinner Table, a dinner series that features local growers. “We’re committed to building downtown and building the community.”
“Every week there are going to be new producers,” Gavan said.
Growers from Henderson, Pahrump and Las Vegas sell products from coffee and spices to fruit and vegetables.
Rick Byrd, a grower for 15 years who owns Las Vegas-based U-Grow, sells at many markets.
“We have an indoor grow house ... so we can grow 365 days of the year,” Byrd said. “We grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, radishes, carrots and cucumbers, all of that kind of stuff.”
He was impressed by downtown’s new market, saying it could be the best one in town if every week is like the premiere, when 1,200 people attended. The Las Vegas Valley has nine farmers markets.
The market “has kind of exceeded our expectations,” Byrd said. “If the crowd holds out like this every week, this will definitely be the best farmers market in town.”
He said oranges and limes are his biggest sellers right now, but market shoppers including Las Vegas native Marla Grijalva bought other things.
“I bought tomatoes and cucumbers and some loose tea,” she said.
The experience was a first for her because she could never find markets near her home.
“I was real excited to hear it’s going to be here every week,” she said.