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 Author: ciannu
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:19 pm 
Look beyond the surface of what you know about anyone and you’ll find surprises. That’s what I got when I went out to visit the gardens of Jose (Joe) and Gloria Barrazza who sell eggs, produce and plants at the market and have since 1990. I know them for their red hot poker plants in the spring, their figs in the fall and of course their navy and orange market awning with the Denver Broncos logos printed on it, Gloria’s favorite football team. .
This was my second time visiting their gardens. I visited in the spring and since everything was just starting to grow I decided to revisit later in the year for a story. Many of you may know Joe for his work in construction. That was his job before he had a severely debilitating stroke in 1998. Joe was having a difficult time figuring out what to do with himself until Gloria suggested he take up gardening. Joe had always enjoyed it, his father was a gardener and he liked to help him when he was alive. Jose still tends his father’s fig trees which provides figs in the fall. That was his start and of course he has become an avid grower providing for an extended family and still having enough to bring to market most weekends.
Joe grows in the ground and in pots. He uses only methods approved for organically grown gardens. They have fruit trees, grapes, and a four season garden. Joe used to have help from his nephew James but now his young great nephew also named James has
joined him in the garden and also sometimes helps at market. But, mostly he is there to help his great uncle snack on fresh chard and grapes when they’re in season.
I asked Gloria what her job was and her reply was “nothing”. But, with further prompting she jokingly said that she is “in charge of making sure everything’s done right.” It looked to me like she was doing her job well. The pots are burgeoning with tomato plants, multiple varieties stuffed into various large pots and flowing onto the ground around them. Swiss chard, beets, even cauliflower were healthy, succulent and growing safely under covers; and peppers were long and starting to color up on the branches.
The surprise, turns out Joe is an artist and was attending school to study art while working construction. Some of you may have seen one of Joe’s sculptures, titled Ice Dancer, displayed outside the art building for years at our local WNMSU campus. Throughout the home of Gloria and Joe are sculptures carved from wood, plaster sculptures, and many paintings. For now, his creative work is in the garden. Joe hasn’t regained all of his motor skills so he’s not found a way to express himself in sculpture or with paintbrush. But, he’s not giving up so we may still be privileged someday to see creations from him in another form other than all that he creates in his backyard garden.

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