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It’s a warm and sunny Monday morning as Jose Gutierrez takes a seat at a table in front of Palizzi Farms in Brighton and slices a ripe watermelon in half. He cuts it into smaller pieces and …
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It’s a warm and sunny Monday morning as Jose Gutierrez takes a seat at a table in front of Palizzi Farms in Brighton and slices a ripe watermelon in half. He cuts it into smaller pieces and offers some to Debbie Palizzi as she begins to tell the story of the farm that they now operate together.
The farm was purchased in 1929 by Debbie’s great-grandfather, Antonio Palizzi, who emigrated to the U.S. from Italy. In 1939, Debbie’s grandparents moved to the area from Dupont, and took over 60 acres. Her uncle Carl farmed the 60 acres adjacent to the farm.
Debbie was 15 years old in 1976 and eager to get a job. Her uncle had an idea.
“My uncle put me up front with a table with green onions, cabbage and sweet corn,” she said. “From those three items, that’s where it all began.”
The Palizzis began growing and selling produce items. After her uncle died in 1989, Debbie came back and took over the farm. Jose, who worked for her uncle since 1985, is in charge of the farming crew which now employs about 20 workers in the summer.
In 1998, the farm underwent a transformation after Debbie’s grandmother, Margaret, died. The family sold the portion of the property where the King Soopers plaza now sits. The buildings needed to be moved and the building that now houses the retail area at Palizzi Farm used to sit where the Good Times restaurant now is.
Debbie and the Palizzi Farms staff will celebrate the farm’s heritage and customers by hosting the first Chili Fest. The event will be this Friday through Monday at the farm at Sixth Avenue and Bromley Lane in Brighton. During this weekend’s festival, customers will be treated to music, food from area restaurants, a fireworks show at dusk Sunday and a chili cook-off Monday. There will also be giveaways Sunday evening before the fireworks and specials throughout the weekend.
“Come by and see what we’re all about, our quality of products and our quality of service,” Debbie said. “We’re a longtime small family business that enjoys our customers and serving the public.”
Palizzi’s offers veggies, including tomatoes, squash, green beans, okra, eggplant, a number of types of peppers and more. Debbie said the farm is known for its peaches and cream sweet corn. The store also offers fruit, canned items, roasted chili peppers and ready-to-bake pies. The farm is also represented at a number of Denver farmers’ markets in the summer.
“It was beat into us that you always provide quality,” Debbie said. “We didn’t sell anything if it wasn’t top notch. And it’s even more so now than in 1976.
“Quality is the name of the game,” she added. “My family knew how to do it and they passed it on down. It pays off. If it’s not the best, it doesn’t go out the door.”
Debbie said the corn is picked early every morning, then sometimes again two or three more times a day. Bushels of vegetables are available, she said, and all it takes is five minutes.
“Give us five minutes, and we can go to get you a bushel or beets right out of the field,” she said. ‘It’s genuinely farm fresh. We really strive to give the customers exactly what they want.”
Debbie feels fortunate that she’s been able to spend much of her life in Brighton, working on the farm and getting to know her customers.
“Being born and raised here, it gets in your blood,” she said. “It’s a good life.”
Friday through Monday
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
Palizzi Farm, 6th and Bromley Lane, Brighton
Fireworks at dusk Sunday
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