Lily’s Roasted Corn
Gilberto and Griselda Nunez
77 Clifton Drive
Watsonville, CA 95076
Products: Corn on the cob — white, also yellow, bi-color and organic varieties when available; baked potatoes and roasted peanuts.
History/Philosophy: Born in Ameca, Jalisco, Mexico to a family that farmed corn, Gilberto moved with his family to the area as an infant when his father Felix obtained work managing a small artichoke farm in Watsonville.
Gilberto’s older sister Amelia was the first of the siblings to start a business selling roasted corn and baked potatoes after seeing such an operation at a flea market in San Antonio, Texas. Amelia and her husband Luis purchased a portable oven after moving back to the area in 1998. They started Champion Corn, and to this day, Amelia can be found every Sunday at the King City Flea Market selling roasted corn and baked potatoes.
Laura, Gilberto’s younger sister, was the next to purchase a portable oven, starting a business in Prunedale. Eventually, a total of five of Gilberto’s seven sisters had started businesses selling roasted corn and baked potatoes at flea markets or farmers markets.
In 2006, Gilberto and his wife Griselda invested the money to purchase a portable oven of their own and started Lily’s Roasted Corn, a business named after their oldest daughter Lily. The couple has a younger daughter Bianca.
Lily’s Roasted Corn joined the MBCFM in 2008.
Lily’s Roasted Corn’s portable oven has the capacity to roast 600 ears of corn an hour at a temperature of 700 degrees. The oven has a vent in its middle, allowing for a staging area below the vent. When filled, the oven can accommodate 200 pounds of produce.
The couple purchases their corn and potatoes from Watsonville Coast Produce. The corn comes from Mexico and the potatoes from Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon.
Available toppings for the baked potatoes include real butter and bacon as well as sour cream, grated cheese, chives and jalapeno relish. A condiment bar with a variety of seasonings is available for the corn.
In addition to roasted corn and baked potatoes, Lily’s Roasted Corn also sells roasted peanuts, which are grown in Virginia.
The saying “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” could double as the motto for the business, whose owners pride themselves on consistently providing a quality product that is pleasing both to the eye and to the taste buds.