Maybe the cherry tomatoes, strawberries and corn on the cob bought at the supermarket aren't quite as sweet and juicy as the ones from Joe and Priscilla Van Dyke's 850-acre farm in Blythe, Calif.
Maybe it's part of the locavore movement, an eco-conscious subset of people who eat only organic food locally grown and harvested.
And there's always the personal interaction between vendors and buyers.
Whatever the reason, farmer's markets are sprouting up all over the Las Vegas Valley.
Today, the new Fremont East Entertainment District farmer's market opens at 115 N. Seventh St., inside the Club Azul nightclub across from El Cortez.
That makes nine weekly farmer's markets in Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City, good news for those looking for a nice radish or carrot, but a challenge for many growers.
Competition for vendors is getting tougher and one organizer said vendors lose out when there are too many farmer's markets too close together.
"We split markets before and the only ones that end up not winning are the vendors," Steve Johnson, founder of Las Vegas Farmer's Markets, said Wednesday at Bruce Trent Park at Rampart Boulevard and Vegas Drive, where he started his first market in 1999. "It's not good for vendors or customers, actually."
Johnson said there's no "lockout" of vendors who want to sell at Tivoli Village, which jumped into the farmer's market after opening at Rampart Boulevard and Alta Drive last spring.
"If they want to bring something new to the table, we encourage it," said Johnson, a former casino pit boss. "We send vendors to every (farmer's) market in Las Vegas. But when you're half a mile from another market, the vendor works twice as hard for half the money."
'bake it here, grow it here or sew it here'
Las Vegas Farmer's Markets operates on Tuesdays at 10401 Garden Park in the Summerlin community and on the first and third Saturday of each month at Floyd Lamb Park.
Johnson's market, like most, welcomes all vendors but prefers farm produce and hand-made crafts. The more local the better.
"We've taken applicants from home mortuaries to Tupperware," said Ginger Johnson, Steve's wife and market co-founder. "Our rules are you make it here, bake it here, grow it here or sew it here. It brings money to the local economy."
Farmers need a state producer's certificate and city business license and have to bring their product from the farm to the table within 48 hours .
Sharon Murphy, owner of Sugar's Bakery at 3700 S. Hualapai Way, wasn't finished setting up Wednesday at Trent Park when customers were already lining up for her $3 loaves of pumpkin, banana nut and blueberry bread.
She also sells at Fresh 52 Farmer's Market on Sundays at Sansone Park Place near Eastern Avenue and the Beltway. Fresh 52 runs the market at Tivoli Village on Saturdays.
"They're very popular, especially here at the park with the families," said Murphy, who pays $35 for her space at either of the markets. "It's cheap entertainment and you support local vendors. It's more about location for me. I like the ones in the park. They're more of a farmer's market."
TRIPLE DIGITS POSE PROBLEM
Dave Star has been running Country Fresh Farmer's Market at 240 Water St. in the Henderson Events Plaza for seven years. Star also has one at 200 S. Green Valley Parkway, outside the Henderson Pavilion.
"It's been pretty steady," he said . "We're holding our own. We're steady, but we're still in a recession."
Summertime gets to be a problem when temperatures top triple digits, he said. His egg farmer from Pahrump stays away until things cool off in September. Herbs dry out and curl up.
"It's just the nature of the beast," Star said. "People still come out. They just come out early. I'm keeping the flame lit. We rarely miss a week unless there's 50-mile-an-hour winds."
For Bob Dillon of Lake Havasu, Ariz., the farmer's market at Trent Park helps cover the $85 to $90 cost of gasoline to bring his wife to Las Vegas every three weeks for cancer treatment. He sells candles made by his wife under the Crafty Diva Sister brand.
Van Dyke Farms is by far the most popular among the 20 regular vendors at Trent Park, drawing customers hours before the official 4 p.m. opening. They've got tomatoes for 50 cents to $1.50 each, strawberries for $3 a pint and ears of corn for 50 cents each.
"They're 79 cents at Albertsons," Priscilla Van Dyke said of the corn. "I watch the prices. You have to. The other thing you get here are things like lemon cucumbers. You don't see that in the grocery stores. You can't buy a pound of basil in the grocery store, especially for $2.50. My price might not always be cheaper than the grocery store, but I know where the produce came from and what treatment it received. And the other part is I know it's fresh."
The Van Dykes grow cotton, alfalfa, melons and broccoli commercially on their farm in Blythe, and have come to Las Vegas farmer's markets often enough to justify buying a house here.
ADVICE ON KEEPING TOMATOES FRESH
Don Kerr spent a little more than $20 at the Van Dyke stand . He said there aren't enough markets in Las Vegas.
"You'd think a place as big as Las Vegas would have one every day of the week," Kerr said. "You've got farmers in Arizona and California and Southern Nevada trying to make a living, trying to make a buck. It needs more advertising."
Gina Gavan, organizer of the new downtown FEED Farmer's Market, said it's not a business venture for her, but a community amenity that will help support the locavore movement and increase capacity for local farmers.
She has lined up about 20 local vendors, including Gilcrease Orchard, McLeod Ranch, Blue Lizard Farm, Bloomin' Desert Herbs and Sweet Tomato Test Garden.
Gavan has been using local food growers for her Project Dinner Table, a platform for people to enjoy local food, share ideas and make new friends.
"Our intent wasn't to be a producer of the farmer's market, just to bring people down here. That has to happen downtown to bring access to local food growers."
Contact reporter Hubble Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0491.