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These farms supply Las Vegas with fresh vegetables

Getting the freshest ingredients for restaurants in large cities can often be a challenge for chefs. This becomes doubly hard when your restaurant happens to be in the middle of a desert. Yet, Las Vegas has been making huge inroads into becoming a premier restaurant destination, where diners can expect exceptional meals made from the freshest ingredients available.

Small farms can only produce so much food, and with close to 40 million visitors to Las Vegas each year, there are large-scale, cutting-edge indoor farms moving to the area to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the city. James Beard Award-winning chef Shawn McClain, the chef behind Libertine Social at Mandalay Bay and Sage and Five50 Pizza Barat Aria, believes that Las Vegas is the perfect test market for indoor vertical farms because the city has “demanding world-class chefs” who want good produce that’s grown as locally as possible.

Last year, Oasis Biotech, one of the largest indoor hydroponic vertical-farming facilities in the United States, began operations. Among the factors that drew the Chinese-backed start-up to Las Vegas was the city’s reputation as a “food mecca and tourist destination,” says Michelle Howell, the company’s sales and marketing manager. Another factor was (strangely) the climate. “If we can make this concept work in the middle of a desert that reaches 100-plus-degree temperatures most of the year, we can make it work anywhere,” says Howell.

The 215,000-square-foot facility can produce 1,500 pounds of pesticide- and herbicide-free microgreens and lettuce a day using 90 percent less water than a traditional farm. Its LED lighting also uses 50 percent less energy than high-pressure sodium lights. Oasis Biotech is selling its produce under the brand name Evercress, with delivery times that range from 24 to 48 hours from harvest to plate, according to the company. It’s working with Get Fresh, a Las Vegas food distribution company that services many of the local restaurants and casinos.

Read more at: Modern Farmer (Andrew Amelinckx)

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