When people who live in the Las Vegas area want to pick their own fruit, or enjoy a visit to a real working market garden and orchard, there is nowhere like the Gilcrease Orchard. Imagine walking along acres of apple, peach and pear trees or rooting about in the dirt, feeling the sun on your back as you pick your own vegetables in the garden or fruit in the amazing orchard. Children who have never experienced this before are awed as they follow their parents or get pulled in wagons, and adults who grew up with the pick-your-own way of life are just as thrilled to find this oasis in the desert. There may not be many other places to find fruit you can pick from the vine in southern Nevada, but at least you can visit nearby Pahrump to tour the winery and enjoy the atmosphere of all the greenery and ripening fruits with the awesome backdrop of the nearby mountains.
Gilcrease Orchard
7800 N. Tenaya Way
Las Vegas, NV 89131
(702) 409-0655

Gilcrease Orchard is a family owned and operated working farm, owned by the sons of the original owners. Bill and Ted Racel have opened much of the remaining farm’s acreage to the general public to give folks the opportunity to pick their own fruit and vegetables. The orchard is run as a non-profit foundation, established by brother Bill Racel so folks can enjoy the experience of visiting a “Pick and Pay” orchard to harvest their own produce, something very rare in the desert. Thanks to the Gilcrease family and their generosity, a 60-acre patch of the most fertile farming land in the Las Vegas area is still preserved. Ted had commissioned the Board of Trustees to preserve the Orchard, beautify it and educate the public – especially the children. Here you can find apple, peach, pear and apricot trees where you can pick your choice of fruit in season, or you can visit the garden to pick zucchini, cucumbers and other seasonal vegetables. The fun is in the challenge of finding that last ripe tomato, the perfect pickling cucumbers, the best-sized zucchini or squash plus other unexpected treasures. At the stand, you can also find delicious fresh apple cider (the real thing!), honey collected from bees, vegetables and fruit for those not prepared to find their own, several varieties of home-made peanut butter and even the best fresh-made hot apple cider donuts to be found anywhere. This isn’t just a pit-stop on your journey, it’s a destination where you can spend several hours just enjoying being one with nature, whether it’s cultivated or not. It’s perfect for the entire family and don’t worry, it won’t break your pocketbook as prices are reasonable, especially when you pick your own. Arrive early and bring gardening gloves, bags, shears or a kitchen knife, a hat and a water bottle to enjoy the experience to its fullest.

Sunrise Acres

2220 Silver St.
Pahrump, NV 89048
(775) 537-1104

This pick-your-own farm offers super-sweet cantaloupe, zucchini, summer and crookneck squash, garlic and asparagus. During the summer, you also have the opportunity to pick your own nectarines, peaches and tomatoes to give that fresh tasting quality to your diet. Located just over an hour’s drive from Las Vegas, it’s a convenient place to visit on a day trip, perhaps before or after visiting the nearby wineries. It’s perfect for an early morning drive in the country.

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Pahrump Valley Winery
3810 Winery Road
Pahrump, NV 89048
(775) 751-7800

It may not be a you-pick, but located just an hour or so from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas, you will find the Pahrump Valley Winery. Opened in 1990, the first batch of vines were devoured by wild horses, but the next plantings survived by the grace of fences. Yet they were never harvested! Yes, grapes do grow in the desert. It was found, neglected and ailing in 2003, when it was upgraded and renovated by the current owners, from production cellar, pressing equipment, a new oak barrel aging room, a tasting room, guest lounge, new vineyard plantings and landscaping, plus a new kitchen and remodel for the new Symphony’s restaurant. The first harvest took place in 2005, resulting in a “gold” winning red Zinfandel. Harvests are increasing, the wine is of the finest quality, the dining at the restaurant is superb and everyone enjoys a good wine tasting, so why not make a day of it and visit this labor of love and enjoy the results?

Sanders Family Winery
3780 E. Kellogg Road
Pahrump, NV 89061
(775) 727-1776

If you travel to the southern side of Pahrump, you can find Sander’s Winery, a beautiful setting for many local weddings and special events. The Spring Mountains lie to the east and the Nopah Range is on the west. Here, the Tuscan villa is brought to life and guests are welcomed by the statue of Teresa Lillianna (“The Wine Pourer”) as you drive down the main entrance lined with Italian cypress trees and a vineyard on each side. The grapes are harvested and crushed by hand. The Sanders Family has been vintners in this area for three decades, and their facility now boasts a winery, visitor’s center and performing arts amphitheater. You will find exquisite wines, lovely tasting rooms and warm hospitality, plus educational tours if desired. The tasting experiences are leisurely and can be enjoyed by any size group. Free wine tasting and tours are available seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Sharon Damon is a preschool specialist, avid reader, passionate writer and creative baker/ cook. She has been a cooking instructor at a local Rec Center in Henderson, NV since 2011, and has written for Examiner and other publications since 2010. She knows her way around the keyboard and the kitchen! Sharon moved from a small city in Canada to Las Vegas 6 years ago, to marry the love of her life, and has since been swept up in the whirlwind known as Sin City. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.