Henderson greenhouse operator looks to expand hydroponics in Las Vegas

Like any other greenhouse operator, Tom Blount is using his 256-square-foot facility in Henderson to grow a variety of vegetables. But there is one thing you won’t find there — soil.

Walking down the rows, you’ll see just about anything from cucumbers and chives to three kinds of basil and countless types of lettuce. The thousands of pounds of produce at Desert Greens H2O, 825 W. Roban Ave., are grown hydroponically, which opts for a nutrient-infused water instead of soil.

“By using hydroponics, we can shorten water usage and lessen our carbon footprint,” Blount said.

Hydroponics isn’t a new concept — “The Aztecs and the Mayans used it,” Blount added — but the technique is being used more frequently.

Blount has been working with hydroponics for years. On a global scale, he worked with organizations such as the World Health Organization to look at using it to solve food crises in other countries.

In 2006, he and his brother founded Nevada Naturals in Reno and opened two hydroponic greenhouses in the area. About three months ago, he opened his first Henderson facility — the grand opening ceremony is slated for late August.

Though things are still growing and he continues to plant new items, his first batch of vegetables were ready in July.

From water shortages to food contamination, Blount said hydroponics can offer solutions to many problems that have arisen in the food industry. What makes hydroponics a better alternative to regular growing, he said, is the amount of water used.

“It requires about 90 percent less water than if it was being grown in soil,” he added. The system also recycles the water.

Using hydroponics, crops grow more quickly, Blount said.

Another aspect that attracted Blount to hydroponics and growing locally was its nutritional value.

“When your food is traveling hundreds of miles, it makes you think about what healthy really means,” he said.

For local restaurants buying produce from the greenhouse, it would be a few hours from being harvested until it is used in a dish.

“And you can taste the difference,” Blount added.

Blount has had chefs come out to tour the facility and talk about using various items, including Brett Uniss, executive chef at B&B Ristorante in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. He toured the facility in mid-July and began talking to Blount about items to potentially have at the restaurant.

“I knew it would be possible to grow things like lettuce,” Uniss said. “I was a little surprised by some of the other items.”

Prior to B&B Ristorante, he would supply his former employer, Honey Salt, 1031 S. Rampart Blvd., with fresh produce. He is currently working out a deal to buy produce from Blount to have at multiple properties at The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South.

“It makes all the difference in the taste,” Uniss said, adding that it is nice to have a relationship directly with the supplier.

“I could tell him exactly what I want and when I want it,” he added.

Blount said he has talked with a number of local restaurants that are interested in using the produce grown by Desert Greens H2O.

“Some of the rows (of vegetables) are already pre-sold,” he said.

He even has a partnership with chefs so they can create their own salad mixes from the ingredients.

Uniss hopes more local restaurants start looking at this greenhouse and thinking about the benefits of buying local.

“Las Vegas is kind of a food desert,” he said. “I hope what Tom is doing catches on.”

Although the greenhouse is currently not open to the general public, eventually Blount hopes to have a farmers market there or offer a food delivery service for locally grown items.

“It depends (on) if there is a demand for it,” he said.

For more information, email nevadanaturals@gmail.com.

To reach Henderson View reporter Michael Lyle, email mlyle@viewnews.com or call 702-387-5201. Find him on Twitter: @mjlyle.

Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Hooters owner talks about room upgrades at his hotel-casino
George Ruff, founder and senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors L.L.C., owner of Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, talks about recent room upgrades at the hotel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passengers Discuss Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air passengers voice their views on the airline at McCarran International Airport on April 16, 2018. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like