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A PALACE OF CORN The Francia Family certainly qualify as a naturally grown farm. In fact, they still cultivate 5 acres of corn, bell peppers, green beans and tomatoes every year, with the help of their children and grandchildren. The Francia family farm sits smack in the middle of the residential neighborhoods along Lawrence Expressway in Sunnyvale. They continue to man their produce stand, tucked behind houses and strip malls on Lilly Lane and White Oak Street. Driving up to the place is a real shock; until the very last second, you're certain you must have the directions wrong, and then a faded sign fronting a green field of corn pops up. Welcome to The Corn Palace. The Francia brothers are old-school Valleyites. They remember when El Camino Real was a dirt road. They balk at the moniker Silicon Valley. I'll always be Santa Clara Valley to me, says Joe. The Valley of Heart's Delight. As they chop the ends off ears of corn, Joe and Ben reminisce about their parents farmland in Mountain View land they bought in 1926. They used to raise sugar beets there, and continue to harvest Blenheim apricots from a 10-acre orchard to sell at the produce stand. We still work by the old methods,says Joe, a sharp-eyed, sharp-tongued man who looks younger than his age. You take an old jackass, he's not trained like a new one. ... I think [the old ways] were a lot better, a lot healthier. Everything was organically grown. Developers frequently stop by the Francia's produce stand. They often ask, Do you know how much this land is worth One guy called and offered to buy the land sight unseen. Joe scoffs, I told him, Well, that's great, but not for sale and I don't know you from Adam. The brothers swear they�ll never sell, despite their misgivings about the way the Valley has developed. Still, the siblings are sanguine about their own hedged-in locale. We were here when there was nothing, so I guess, what can you say says Joe. You can't stop it. It's about all we've done, all our life, I guess we'll continue to do it, agrees Ben.

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