[private]Geno Bernardo is one of my favorite chefs in Las Vegas. We have a pretty interesting friendship, considering the first time I reviewed his restaurant Nove Italiano I gave it a pretty bad review. A lot of things have changed since then. And today, it’s one of my favorite spots in town. My co-authors and I even chose it to include in our book, Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants. So when Geno invited me and a few reporters out to see one of his farms in Parhump, I couldn’t resist – despite the fact it’s about an hour drive out of Las Vegas.
For those of you who don’t know about Parhump, it’s famous for one thing: it’s the closest town to Las Vegas with legal prostitution! And the only times I’d ever been out there prior to this trip were to visit a brothel. One of them throws a big barbecue every year where all sorts of people show up to eat, drink, listen to a band and tour the themed sex rooms. I’ve been a few times with my wife. We’ve actually met a lot of very nice prostitutes in the attached sports bar, although we never did anything more than chat with them. (I’m fairly sure anything more would have been a bit out of our price range!)
What very few people know is that there’s also a large community of people in Parhump who run small farms. A lot of people think you can’t grow anything in the desert. But these guys are proving them wrong. I’d heard about cool little farms out there that supply the big Strip restaurants for years, so I was thrilled to check one out. And the fact that Geno and his friends are doing it organically – without any chemical pesticides or fertilizers — is pretty impressive!
Having The Bad Brains roll into town on tour just two days after my visit to the farm was a bummer, since Dr. Know runs his own organic farm in Woodstock, New York. I would have loved to have brought him out to Parhump to see what Geno and his friends were doing. But I showed him some home video (pretty rough since I couldn’t see the screen at all in the desert sunlight and was shooting as I hopped over fences and plants). Then I introduced the two of them so they could talk organic farming. And as you can see, they hit it off pretty well. It’s just more proof that people from all walks of life can always come together over a shared love of great food.