The Las Vegas Farm: La Voce Las Vegas News Magazine “THE FARM” A Wonderful Family Centric Time Capsule
Reprinted with permission of La Voce News Magazine and appearing in the September 2011 special anniversary edition.
A Wonderful Family Centric Time Capsule
To those who visit this remarkable place Sharon Linsenbardt is known as simply, Farmer Sharon.
She appears to have just walked out of central casting ready to play her part in a movie as an early 20th century farmer; pulled back hair, void of makeup, loose fitting clothes, calloused hands and a strong firm handshake.
But this is not a movie set and Sharon is not an actor. She’s been at this farming and ranching business for 50 years, right here in Vegas, and her family’s roots date back to the 1920’s.
When you step through the old gate of THE FARM on the North West corner of Grand Teton and Tenaya in the North West side of town, you leave behind a city best known for plastic replicas and faux art and enter a place where everything is real and as it has been for the past 50 years.
For many, THE FARM is a source of wonderful chicken, duck, quail and even peacock eggs, as well as honey, jams and jellies, all produced on the farm. And then there is her annual Halloween event that draws thousands who purchase specially grown pumpkins, a wide variety of squash and breads, and sample the amazing barbecue. There are always horse drawn rides, a maze and on and on.
And like everything here on THE FARM this Fall event is safe and nurturing for children of all ages. There are no scary Halloween creatures and everything is warm, friendly and fun.
I arrived for my first visit a little before six in the morning. Sharon as usual had been up, making her rounds of THE FARM since 3:30 AM with her gorgeous ten month old Anatolian shepherd, Dusty, who patrols and discourages coyotes from endangering her animals. This breed with a 6,000 year lineage is known for its intelligence, problem solving abilities, and the strength to take on bear and even lions. These two were meant for each other, and it’s wonderful to watch their interaction.
My introduction to Sharon began unexpectedly when she barked a command as I closed my car door and walked toward the gate. “John, they’ll be coming your way, make sure they go through the gate and back on the farm!” I had no idea what she was chasing behind another vehicle but soon they came right at me, two of them and moving with lightning speed. I instinctively placed my laptop computer case on the ground, waved my arms and felt a twinge of pride as I watched them both zig and then zag back through the gate to the safety of the farm. Wow, this city guy just helped herd two wild, crazy out of control……kittens.
The kittens, like hundreds of other animals, find their way to THE FARM for various reasons; injured, abandoned or abused. Sharon has seen it all. Some are literally tossed over the fence while others just show up on their own. I laughed out loud when Sharon explained that one morning a duck was found just sitting outside the gate as if it had been dropped off by a taxi. When the gate was opened the duck waddled in and has never left.
Every cage, every creature running or flying around has a unique story. “Oh look, she shouts, there’s Tanky!” I see a large deep oblong tunnel dug out of the hard desert soil with several cubic yards of earth around the entrance and there, deep inside, looking back at us, is a huge desert tortoise. I don’t have to ask how he found his way here. Sharon is already explaining that this poor animal was raised on concrete for seventeen years. Dropped off at The Ranch, work immediately began on creating a nice enclosure and space for Tanky. But after only few days, and before work was completed ,everyone was shocked to see that Tanky took control of his own construction job and built what Sharon calls his underground condo. She looked straight at me and said, “Just think, John, for seventeen years this wonderful animal dreamed of only one thing….just digging a hole.”
“Are you afraid of chickens,” she asks me? No, no, of course not. I’m surprised at this question given the way I handled myself with those wild kittens, but now we’re among a large number of birds of every type and description as we make our way to a tall wooden gate.
I’m taken aback and surprised as we enter what must be a two acre area with large old-growth trees shading a couple of cows, horses, one a miniature little guy, who immediately begins trotting over to Sharon . Soon, like a scene right out of Dr. Doolittle, I realize that all the animals, including the cows and a llama are heading in Sharon’s direction.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve made three trips to THE FARM. I’ve watched the expression on kids’ faces as a father holds a youngster to peek over a fence at a yard filled with an eclectic mix of wonderful animals; goat, peacock, quail, they’re all there and living in harmony on THE FARM.
There is something really special here. Sure, it’s the fresh farm to the table products and delicious foods and the big Halloween event, but it’s far more than that.
This is a place to escape and to just enjoy, if only for a short time, what life was like on a small farm and where every creature of every size and description is protected and cared for by Farmer Sharon and her band of young volunteers.
If you haven’t visited THE FARM, you should, and if you can, take the whole family and say hello to Farmer Sharon….you can’t miss her.
THE FARM is located at 7222 W. Grand Teton Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89131. Phone 702-982-8000. Website is www.thelasvegasfarm.com.