Saturday, November 1, 2008

Corn Palace

If you ever find yourself in Sunnyvale California and looking for a produce bonanza, go check out the Corn Palace.

This place is awesome! From the yummy variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, to the 5' dynamo of an owner Mr. Francia, it is virtually impossible to walk away without enjoying your visit.

Originally started in 1926 by Joe and Ben Francia's parents, the acreage now stands out as a reminder of the way the area used to be, with orchards flanking the property and the current expressway once being a dirt road.Ben is the surviving brother, and pushing 90 is still running the place. He is fiesty and chatty. He will tell you about the old days, he will tell you what he thinks of this election, and damn straight if you rub him the wrong way, he will let you know what he thinks of you too. I love that about him. He always has a smile on his little, round fleshy face and I love to chat with him a bit when I am there.

And let me own up to playing the race card here and admit that as a fellow Italian I feel a special affinity to Mr Francia and the Palace of Corn. Every time I stop by to pick up a special ingredient for a recipe, I want to bring some of it back to him to try. I lost my courage when I used some of his Roma tomatoes for my maiden voyage on the journey of Bolognese sauce and again when I stuffed zucchini.

Upon leaving there a little while ago, I promised myself (in front of a witness to keep me honest) that the persimmons I bought were going to go into cookies and make their way back to my paisan Ben.

Vivere lungo il palazzo di granoturco!

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