(REPRINTED WITH THE PERMISSION OF LA VOCE NEWS MAGAZINE)
I Didn’t Know That
Even Long Time Residents Unaware of 50 Year Old Las Vegas Farm
Last month, Sharon Linsenbardt arrived at Chef Marc Sgrizzi’s Parma Restaurant to attend a fund raising dinner to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Like the other well dressed women, she carried a purse.
But unlike the other women, she carried something else that immediately caught the attention of Chef Marc and brought a broad smile to his face: three large flats of chicken eggs, a flat of duck eggs, and eleven jars of honey.
Like the opening of an ‘Iron Chef’ TV episode, Chef Marc moved quickly toward these unexpected but welcomed ingredients and immediately grabbed a few duck eggs and a large jar of honey, and then disappeared into the kitchen.
While making her way across the room to join her friends who were seated and enjoying a glass of wine, Sharon was being peppered with questions from fellow diners.
“Excuse me, but where did you get all this? Why are all these eggs different sizes and colors? Some of these eggs are green. Are they safe to eat? Duck eggs, what in the world would you do with duck eggs? Where did you get all this honey? Did it come from California, Utah…China?”
But the one question that caused people to pause, put down their glass of wine and listen for the answer was, “Who are you?”
The short answer is that she is Sharon Linsenbardt, better known to thousands of Las Vegans and visitors from around the globe as just ‘Farmer Sharon.’ And she has operated a five acre farm, simply known as, “THE FARM,” on the Northwest corner of Tenaya and Grand Teton Drive in the Northwest section of Las Vegas, for well over four decades.
The long answer is that Farmer Sharon is a complex, multitalented, multifaceted, extremely intelligent woman, who inherited her farming gene from immigrant Italian grandparents, the Balistreri family, who arrived in Las Vegas in 1927. Her father created a successful electrical contracting business that would contribute to the construction of many of the Strip’s first hotels and casinos. She and her husband Glenn have operated a successful Farmers Insurance Agency for decades.
It’s not clear where she gets the energy that allows her to function with only a scant few hours of sleep, but each morning she’s up at 3:00 AM with her gorgeous Anatolian shepherd, Dusty, protecting THE FARM against the coyotes that are a constant threat to her many animals.
But the one singular attribute that best defines who she is, the one thing that sets her apart from all others, is her incredible love and empathy for animals. Her life is dedicated to protecting the injured, abused and neglected.
For more than forty years THE FARM has been a nurturing place for over 450 animals…cows, horses, llamas, pigs, goats, turkeys, and even an assortment of crazy-looking fowl resembling characters right off the pages of a Dr. Seuss storybook.
Perhaps planned or inadvertent, THE FARM has matured over the years into a place of remarkable natural beauty. Every nook and cranny is filled with interesting objects and plants, with animals scurrying here and there, to the delight of children of all ages.
But it’s also a refuge and recharge station for adults. Like an oasis for the spirit, it connects us back to another time when farms like this were the norm and not the exception, when interaction with animals and working the land made us aware that we were part of everything around us.
Those chicken and duck eggs Farmer Sharon brought with her to Parma Restaurant were all produced by her chickens that live the good life on THE FARM. Ditto the ducks, quail and even peacocks whose eggs are all sold to regular visitors that arrive at THE FARM every Saturday and Sunday waiting for the gate to open at 9 AM. The honey comes from her bees, and she also preserves vegetables, and bakes breads, cakes and pies.
But as this edition of La Voce goes to print, THE FARM is under pressure. Farmer Sharon is stressed to the max, and the future of all those unsuspecting animals is in doubt.
With a $3,500 a month overhead just to feed and care for her animals, and doing the work alone that seriously requires two or three full time employees, she must find a way to create incremental income or face losing THE FARM.
After months of hearings, the final details of Farmer Sharon’s request to the Board of County Commissioners for required use permits and variances needed to create and bring more value to THE FARM will soon be known.
If all goes well, this could be the start of wonderful new attractions, more animal interaction, and an expansion throughout the full five acres from the present one acre that is currently open to the public.
Regardless of the outcome, and whatever happens, Farmer Sharon wishes to thank Tom Collins, her local Clark County Commissioner, for his understanding and support for THE FARM, and to express her sincere gratitude to the publisher, editor and readers of La Voce for having been such wonderful friends of THE FARM. Your visits, encouragement, volunteerism and donations have helped her continue during these very difficult times.
And if you haven’t made a trip to THE FARM, you should. You, your family and friends will not be disappointed. It’s getting warm, so make sure to bring a cooler and pick up a dozen eggs.
For more information, including directions to THE FARM which is located at 7222 W. Grand Teton Drive, Las Vegas NV 89131, visit www.thelasvegasfarm.com, or call 702-982-8000. Sharon Linsenbardt’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
And when you visit, ask Farmer Sharon some of those questions she was asked while attending the fund raiser at Chef Marc’s restaurant. What about green eggs, are they safe and just what did Chef Marc do with those duck eggs and honey?
The answer to that question is ‘absolutely delicious’.