E10: Cygnus Crossing – Kathy and Scott Gilbert

I catch up with Kathy and Scott Gilbert about alllllll the projects they have in progress right now: besides the Cygnus Coffee bus that we all know and love, they’re also working on the new Sempre Caffe in downtown Palisade, a yet to-be-named ice cream truck, longer-term projects at their G Road location by the high school, and one surprise thing. We talk about what brought them back to Palisade and so much more. It’s hard not to catch Kathy and Scott’s infectious enthusiasm, energy, and excitement for bringing tasty things to Palisade! Grab your favorite caffeinated or decaf beverage and hear all about it.

For more info about Cygnus Crossing, check out their website: cygnuscrossing.com or instagram: @cygnuscoffeebus.

Music by Romarecord1973 from Pixabay.


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Hello and welcome to Postcards from Palisade, the podcast that shares a snapshot of the people and places that make this slice of western Colorado wonderful. I’m Lisa McNamara.

Today I’m talking with Kathy and Scott Gilbert about all the projects they have in progress right now: besides the Cygnus coffee bus that we all know and love, they’re also working on the new Sempre Caffe in downtown Palisade, a yet to-be-named ice cream truck, longer-term projects at their G Road location by the high school, so many other things, and one more surprise thing.

LM: wow, so it’s so much more than I even realized
KG: it really does sound like a lot when you put it like that I’m not that busy
LM: is that everything?
KG: yeah I think that’s it
KG: we’re working harder than we’ve probably ever worked in our lives but it’s also
SG: it doesn’t feel like it!
KG: but it doesn’t feel like it. it’s it’s fun work. yeah like I’m building this thing, I’m making this thing happen, and I get to be creative and I get to try this thing and if it doesn’t work then fine, I won’t do it again. but at least I tried. what’s the worst that can happen? yes it can blow up you fail. Okay!

We also chat about what they love about owning a farm – because, yes, they do that too:

SG: you own 30 acres here in Palisade, you’re producing something. you’re actually making the land produce something for people to have to eat and it that just
KG: that’s the coolest thing. yeah we like producing and growing versus just sitting and observing. we’re not good at observing, we’re just, passive, not our thing

And why the business community in Palisade is so great:

SG: on a business front, one thing that’s unique about Palisade is there, not 100% but there tends to be a cooperation among the different businesses and the different people that own those businesses.
KG: it’s not catty and backfighting and that’s yeah
SG: right, all boats rise when everybody cooperates
KG: because we we all, if we all succeed that’s for the better of everyone. it’s the town we want to succeed

All that and more, on today’s highly-caffeinated Postcard From Palisade.

SG: Go ahead, you first.
KG: Okay I’m Kathy Gilbert. I have many skills…we own a farm and I make coffee.
SG: And you went to high school here.
KG: oh I did go to high school here!
SG: I’m Scott, Kathy’s husband I grew up in Fort Collins. we actually met I guess in the in the orbit of Palisade.
KG: Well, I went to church camp and you were we were at the church camp in Ponderosa? So, that way.
SG: Yeah, and then came out here and met and so we have some sentimental attachments to the area but I’m a retired accountant having spent the last 30 years or so in Phoenix, came up here about two years ago
LM: cygnus what I’ve learned is it’s a constellation, right?
KG: It is a constellation, the swan constellation and it’s over the farm during the summer during picking season.
SG: and also symbolizes sort of the swan on the on the mesa over there too.
KG: We can tell her it started with a Rush song.
SG: I’m a big Rush fan and our son is too and he suggested Cygnus, and we thought Cygnus, swan, and there are some connections so it’s it
KG: oh that works!
LM: yeah so it ties it both to Palisade and in multiple different ways very cool
KG: but usually when you say Rush lyrics people go, what? so we don’t say it a lot
LM: oh no I know what you’re talking about. Tom Sawyer and everything. I forgot the other song names.
KG: He knows them all!
LM: so have you seen Rush like a bunch of times
SG: yes yeah yeah yes but well they stopped a few years ago but we went while we could
LM: Awesome. I feel like whenever I’ve met somebody who is a huge Rush fan they’ve seen them like
KG: as much as they can yeah right
SG: as much as they can
LM: so many times
KG: Yeah, every time especially that last tour
SG: right
LM: yeah. and how did you get into opening and operating a coffee business?
KG: that’s part of the dark tale
SG: that’s really your side of the coin
KG: that I get as my side of the coin. I was teaching at a private school and learned that I do not want to be a teacher and there was an opening at the coffee shop and I’m like oh I’ll go work there and turned out that was kind of my thing and then we bought a coffee shop in Phoenix and ran that for a few years. it was a failing coffee shop and we turned it into winning award coffee shop but he was, his job was just so busy at that time we couldn’t do it, I couldn’t do it alone and he didn’t have time to help so we sold it and started renovating houses and then we got here and I’m like I’m never doing a business again no that’s too much work and then six months later: hey I got this idea let’s buy a food truck so yeah
SG: and then let’s buy a property
KG: let’s buy the property!
LM: and now you have like six businesses or something?
KG: something like that yeah I don’t know what happened. I’m honestly not sure what happened it seemed like a good idea. it is a good idea it’s just a lot a lot juggling right now
LM: well and it’s not a typical food truck right?
KG: Nope. definitely unique she has her quirks her name is Brewnhilda b-r-e-w-n-hilda and I love her but at some point she’s probably going to kill me
SG: turns out 74 Volkswagen buses are very high maintenance, they take a lot of work.
LM: who knew?
KG: who knew?
SG: we’re fortunate to live very close to Restoration where Gary Brauns is a German mechanic as it happens in his spare time
KG: it needs a sticker on the back, like this bus is brought to you by Gary Brauns at Restoration Vineyards because it would not be running at all
SG: right and that was just a total fortunate coincidence that he was there to help with some of the issues that she had earlier on
KG: like going in gear going in reverse we still have a few issues but it’s getting there
SG: It’s getting there.
LM: okay and so what what exactly is the model and year?
KG: oh 1974 Kombi Panel VW bus
SG: found in Mexico in a junkyard and restored
KG: sort of, parts were restored, parts are questionable.
SG: Yeah. so the dashboard is in kilometers we have to say you know 60 kilometers is about 40 miles an hour we have to do that mental conversion when you’re driving
KG: I got her up to 80 kilometers today it was terrifying, like I’m not going to do the math I’m just not going to do the math and every time you find your gears it’s in a little different spot
LM: oh yeah oh yeah. how did you find her?
KG: I was shopping on usedfoodtrucks.com and there was somebody who had taken a VW bus and turned it into a basically a non-legal food truck. they’d stuck in like a home coffee brewer and they’re like look this food truck is for sale and I’m like no that’s terrible, but maybe there’s something better so I Googled VW bus food trucks and I found two companies. one does these plastic replicas out of LA that don’t drive and you have to tow which defeats the purpose but the LED roof goes up on lifts and it’s really cool and then the other one was a company out of New York that will build them to your specifications and so we went with that one, hoping to drive it. and she sort of does she should not go more than five miles outside our radius though!
SG: Yeah. Fortunately there’s plenty to do with this two mile radius here
LM: yeah exactly you have a regular route or kind of going around to different businesses and then you’re back here in between. So Sing up the sun I was I kind of came over and ordered coffee and there was this couple ahead of me that basically just came over to talk about the bus. how often does that happen where people are driving by and they’re just like…
KG: every day, every day they will stop and come over take a picture with the bus, we talk about the bus and usually they had a bus or they had a friend who had a bus and they have camping stories in it or they did this in it and then they tell me their bus made it all the way across the country and I’m like yeah that’s not my bus
SG: it’s a very iconic vehicle for the 70s and 80s and 60s even
LM: right and it’s just such a I mean it’s like a tight-knit group of people who has
KG: they’re very specific on their buses and like you know you have to know the year and what color and they all look at the inside and question why did I choose the baby blue well because they only gave me three options and red didn’t work so yeah baby blue it is
LM: yeah I figured that was not a unique experience I figured that probably happened all the time
KG: all the time all the time, yeah. at least once a day and if we go somewhere it’s probably 10 people if it’s at an event
SG: it’s great because it draws attention.
KG: yeah she’s cool and I love her
LM: yeah she’s beautiful she’s like iconic with the way the top pops up and I don’t know when you see it from distance it’s like, how does that even work?
KG: what is that, yeah? What is that?
LM: and then you get a little closer and see how it all works
SG: yeah we went to the movies this last weekend there was a preview for a new Transformers movie they’re like oh
KG: and there was a VW bus
SG: that’s a Transformer
KG: I really hope that there’s a VW Transformer because I’m going to buy it that is going to happen
LM: oh my gosh and I’m glad that you’re able to get the roof reattached relatively
KG: yeah, that was a thing
LM: so what happened a couple weeks ago?
KG: it was closed, completely closed
SG: it was closed but we had, over the year that we’ve had her we have stopped latching the roof closed because it’s 200 pounds it’s hard enough to lift by itself and
KG: and the latch sometimes gets stuck
SG: and the latch sometimes gets stuck
KG: it’s a pain
SG: and so we kind of stopped latching. well there was that freak storm two weeks ago Monday that came through and within a space of 10 minutes there was maybe an 80 mile per hour gust at the perfect angle that lifted the roof off and
KG: then just ripped it off completely
SG: snapped it right off the side and believe it or not we were actually fortunate because had it not snapped off the whole bus could have tipped over
KG: and we were fortunate that the plumber called yeah and said hey Kathy your bus is open. I’m like oh no one of the kids didn’t close it right today oh those idiots! wait what, the roofs on the ground?
SG: we got down here just within, this is at like 10 o’clock at night just before it started raining
KG: to get it in the garage
SG: and had it rained all on the inside and on the machine it would have been totaled so it was actually in the scheme of things, we were lucky
KG: it’s not the worst thing yeah it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen it can always be worse
LM: yeah I’m glad it was able to get back up and running pretty quickly
KG: yeah Gary, that was due to Gary again, Restoration, and the kids came down and they put the roof back on learned how to use a rivet gun
KG: we’ve learned all kinds of new skills
LM: what are the challenges of operating a business out of a Volkswagen bus?
KG: keeping it stocked, keeping the generators
SG: winter is something we learned you don’t do
KG: we’re not doing winter outside
SG: with an open air roof bus
KG: nope!
SG: if it rains or snows and even when it’s just too cold it doesn’t go as well
KG: we learned that wind chill of 12 degrees starts freezing your pipes and so you close. things I know now
LM: so soon that won’t be as much of a problem, right?
SG: it’s part of why we yeah we needed a permanent roof going forward and then she’ll be for events only once once we have the brick and mortar up and going
LM: yeah I was going to ask was she going to be retired
KG: oh no she’ll go um she’ll go to events at that point and then Farmers Market season is coming
LM: yep, can’t wait!
SG: and then in the winter she’ll be in a garage safe somewhere
KG: she will be grateful for that
LM: so let’s talk about the new Cafe though! I think the whole town is really excited about it, I know I’m really excited for it. I mean, other than needing a place to maybe operate in the winter, but how did you decide to go downtown and buy a place there?
KG: actually saw the Realtor listing of it on Instagram and I went oh! that building is for sale
SG: what could we do with it
KG: that building! but within 12 hours we’re like all right we’re gonna do this we’re going to do gelato and tea and coffee and lots of healthy grab and go and so that is what’s in progress or process right now
SG: and part of that too was that this property here on G Road is taking, when you’re going from the ground up all the planning and engineering and architectural that goes into that takes a couple years
KG: we’re 18 months in it’s not just sitting here it’s like we’re we’re 18 months in on all of it
SG: and we have another 18 to go probably
KG: if they started today it’s 18 months
SG: so we can have this shop in town open within a matter of weeks or a month or so and then while this is still being developed
LM: okay so the original plan was to have a coffee shop here
KG: yes
LM: and it’s just you’re you’re basically like you’re retrofitting a house into
KG: they’re threatening, yeah, that was our first thought and then it turned into well, engineering wise we need to do this and it has a basement and so
SG: the original thought was to just kind of remodel this house into a coffee shop but the engineering and the architectural and all those considerations it may just be cheaper and faster to knock it down and rebuild, but the shop will be on this site either way
KG: so this where we’re sitting right now will be the front of house and so the coffee bar would be along the equivalent of where that wall is but then they’re basically doubling the size of this building going out the back and that’s where the kitchen will be and it’s easier to do that because then it’s on slab, it’s poured, it’s all new going in. but that is the plan for that
SG: right, right
LM: Amazing
SG: so the town location just you know, someone might ask
KG: why are you doing two?
SG: why are you going to have two.
LM: yeah, I was going to ask that! Just like that, too!
SG: and it’s really they’re two completely different concepts. the town location is going to be a little bit more of an upscale vibe, somewhat more dessert oriented. we’ll have plenty of food options too but a little bit more emphasis on gelato and tea and you know kind of a dessert feeling there and it’s going to serve people in town whether they’re residents or just coming into town for dinner. there’s not much there after five o’clock at night
LM: oh tell me about it!
SG: and you want to go have a dessert after dinner you know, we’ll be there for you
KG: we’re taking the entire backyard of it and turning that into a courtyard with a fountain and covered seating and just a good place to hang out when the weather’s nice
LM: I know a lot of people are like, we just need something to do at night that’s not centered around drinking you know or you know just something else
KG: and there may be like, a winery can come in if they want to ever do a pairing of cheese pairing or something and run that through there but
SG: or gelato pairing
KG: yeah or gelato pairing with wine would be fun, but we will not be serving alcohol. I don’t want to go down that path and there’s a lot here
LM: there is a lot here and I think just having that just having something else to do at night will be a really nice thing for the community.
SG: yeah exactly and this location on G Road will also be something to do at night, but it’s going to be a little bit more of a market vibe. it’ll be somewhat more food oriented with more emphasis on ice cream as opposed to gelato, some grocery items, and also we’re planning to have third party food vendors rotating through
KG: we’ve built out the kitchen, designed the kitchen and built it out so there can actually be more than one chef in there, so if somebody wants to take their food truck and try a brick and mortar they can come they can come and try it
LM: almost like a food hall or something
KG: kind of along the lines of a food hall um yeah yeah so more opportunity because build outs are very expensive and you don’t know if your thing is going to work or as a brick and mortar or if you just stick to food truck
SG: Yeah it’s exactly
KG: you just don’t know
SG: exactly, so food hall is a good term because it’ll naturally serve the high school, not only the students there but there’s events here almost every night where families are coming down, parents are coming down, it’ll have of course the road traffic and the town itself so you know two locations but two very different angles
KG: and our goal is, yes we want something the tourists like, but we really want something that the town likes because we live here and we want something for the town more than anything else
SG: and we will be opening in the winter
KG: and we will be open in the winter because we will not be on a bus in the freezing with that freezing steel counter we will be inside and warm. we’re really looking forward to that yeah
LM: the Sempre Caffe you’re thinking will be open this summer at some point?
KG: yes it will be open this summer, we’re going as fast as we possibly can
SG: as fast as the permitting allows
KG: as fast as the permitting allows us, yes
LM: I’ve been peeking in the windows every time I go by and I see that you all had to trench the floor?
KG: it’s like oh look there’s there’s dirt and big pipe, wow that’s attractive
LM: was that something you thought you’d have to do or was that a surprise?
KG: oh we knew we’d have to oh no
SG: it’s going from an art gallery to a basically a restaurant so
KG: it’s not going to be we won’t be cooking in there per se, we will be doing a lot of salads and sandwiches and prep, but even with that you’ve got to have a food prep sink and the food prep sink has to have a floor drain with an air gap to prevent back siphonage and then this has to have a floor drain and then this has to have a floor drain, so it’s like fine rip it all up. it’s just a lot easier instead of trying to make it work without that
SG: right so there’s there’s actually not a lot of work involved it’s the permitting process and then coordinate, getting the different trades that have to go in that takes the most time so
KG: so it needs to be plumbing, pour the floor, framing, finish the electrical, close it up, and make it pretty, and that’s the timeline and I have my trades ready to go, we’re like, we’re so ready!
SG: and then landscaping
KG: that can be done simultaneously however. It’s a process.
LM: right, it has to go in order
SG: we’re pushing hard. it should be just a matter of weeks at this point
KG: yeah yeah knock on wood
LM: very I know right go ahead you can do it
KG: want to talk about the warehouse?
SG: yeah so here on the G Road location, because that’s going to take even best case scenario from today another 18 months maybe more
KG: yeah, more
SG: by the end of the summer we’ll have a warehouse in the back of the property, southwest corner, where we’re calling it the test market and that’s going to be kind of a almost a pop-up concept, a full commercial kitchen in there but we’ll be able to be up and running on this location on sort of a call it a beta version
KG: plus we can, since it’ll be a commercial kitchen and we can wash our peaches there and freeze them to make jam later, we can wash our peaches and dehydrate them and sell them because it has to be done in a commercial kitchen and there’s nowhere to do that on the farm. so and we may end up renting out space if you need to press your grapes or because we have a lot of grapes
SG: yes and that will also be fully plumbed for that kind of an operation we’re thinking ahead to the most flexibility
KG: extra floor drains, extra hose bibs, extra plugs, it’s like it’s a transformer. but my favorite part is on the, on the, which end is that, on the east end there’s a 20 by 40 just covered area like ordinary fellows where you could just sit outside and in the shade and drink your coffee or whatever vendor happens to be there
SG: so that’ll be there while this building is being built
LM: okay okay wow so yeah it’s definitely easy to do that at the beginning rather than going back and trying to retrofit again
SG: exactly
KG: we’ll always over build, always put in more plugs, always put in more water than you think you’ll need, and a bigger hood for your stove
LM: wow, so it’s so much more than I even realized
KG: it’s a lot!
SG: there’s a lot to it. there’s a couple other nuances, I guess. the entry is going to be moving off of G Road and over to Shiraz because it’s hard to slow down and turn right here
KG: it’s kind of terrifying
SG: it’s a little bit terrifying and also that is going to accommodate a, the town is putting in a sidewalk to connect the high school through town over to the town.
KG: so there’ll finally be a sidewalk all the way to the high school
LM: boy that’s really needed
KG: yes so we’re we’re giving them land to do that because so that they have
SG: for a small price yeah
KG: yeah yes we haven’t discussed that yet. but but also in process right now, because I, we’re insane, um we have an ice cream truck that’s up and coming. it’s really cute it’s at the electrician that was calling when you pulled up I have an electrician right now he’s rewiring it to put all the equipment in. it’s a 1948 International Metro milk truck. it’s so cute, I mean Brewnhilda’s great and I love her, but I also really love this truck too
SG: well, we learned that we needed a backup for the bus and before we sort of committed to the brick and mortar route, we we thought a second food truck would be good and it will be good but that’ll focus more on ice cream
KG: but we can still make coffee
SG: we use Third Bowl out of Hotchkiss she supplies our ice cream for that and she will be primarily events if not entirely events
KG: yes yeah
SG: we think an ice cream truck going around to the different wineries would be a good concept
LM: that would be amazing
KG: yeah ice cream truck is awesome
SG: she’ll also be able to do coffee as a backup to the to the bus
KG: yeah we’re putting in a double espresso machine in there as well so we can do everything we do on that we can also do on the ice cream truck and then some
LM: does it have a name yet or are you still waiting for the right name to come to you
KG: okay we’ve narrowed it down Elsie, Clarabelle, what was, there was another one, shoot I can’t remember it. I kind of like Clarabelle or lily Bell it’s just very, what would you name a cow
LM: well yeah
KG: yeah like what would you name it yeah
LM: Elsie the cow is the
KG: I think it’s Borden’s I might get sued you didn’t hear that Borden’s
LM: so back to the shop downtown, are you gonna keep the exterior paint color? No?
KG: no, we’re painting, probably more in line with like our logo colors.vthe Navy and then a cream and then where the red spots are we’re looking at like a deep burnished peach so that way I can add copper highlights inside because that would look really good
SG: it may always be known as the turquoise building
LM: yeah right it’s very so it’s vibrantly turquoise red and yellow?
KG: green, lime green
LM: lime green
SG: lime green
LM: today
KG: very Easter egg
SG: we will be repainting the whole thing
KG: I said though, in 10 years she’ll be like, oh yeah you know the turquoise building next to peche, oh yeah that one. things don’t change here
LM: no. when that’s up and running, what hours do you expect to be open? do you know that yet or are you still working it out?
KG: 8 am for sure. what’s questionable is how late on weeknights
SG: into the evening
KG: into the evening. whether that’s 7:30, 8, 9
SG: so you can have dinner and go get dessert. So I don’t know if that’s 8 or 9 or what. it’s going to be full day seven days a week
KG: so they can get ice cream or gelato seven days a week.
LM: and there isn’t anything like that now, so that’s awesome
KG: no, not right now. and we’ll be focusing, we will be able to do coffee and all of the drinks we do on the bus, but we’re also focusing on being very tea heavy with about 35 different kinds of loose leaf teas and have a big variety there
SG: yeah you don’t see an actual tea shop on on this side of the Rockies
KG: my daughter-in-law is like kind of the tea expert so we’re letting her run with it and she’s like I have this one and this one and she has excellent tastes so we think you’ll like them
LM: so you’ve got a lot so you’re going, so you’ll have the coffee bus, the ice cream truck, cafe downtown, Warehouse here, working on building out a bigger space here, and you have an Orchard, and a vineyard
KG: we have an orchard and a Vineyard yes with two airbnbs
LM: and airbnbs
KG: it really does sound like a lot when you put it like that I’m not that busy
LM: is that everything?
KG: yeah I think that’s it
SG: we have we have three kids that help us too
KG: yeah
SG: it’s kind of a family run thing it’s not just the two of us
KG: we hire them to go clean they get they get to clean that’s their job and they work on the bus and they’ll work on the truck
SG: and our farm is leased out to the Ruckman family, we’re not out there in the fields toiling because
KG: we don’t know what we’re doing
SG: we don’t know what we’re doing. We’re urban.
KG: we’re very urban, we definitely don’t know
LM: so you just moved back here two years ago, is that right?
KG: two years ago. we learned with his job he could work anywhere, with covid office was not necessary, so we said why are we in a city
SG: yeah and about a year into living here we said, well, I don’t really have to work. not only do I kind of work where I want, I don’t really have to do anything
KG: let’s go do this thing now
LM: especially for you having transitioned from like corporate life into entrepreneurship and then you’ve been in entrepreneurship for a while, what’s the best part of having your own businesses and then what’s the biggest challenge
KG: the best part is saying, you know what, let’s just go have some wine this afternoon. have a wine break. we did that yesterday. biggest challenge would be self-motivation. I have got to get that done today, I’ve got to get that done today, and there’s nobody telling you you have to get done, you just have to get it done and you have to stop whatever you’re doing and go do that other thing when that fire flares up
SG: right yeah I say, just there’s a satisfaction particularly coming from the accounting world of being able to point at something that’s actually, you know like that’s it’s a thing, it’s a physical thing, it’s not just a spreadsheet on a computer. so being able to point to something at the end of the day is good. the biggest challenge I think or one of the bigger challenges is just it’s always always always on your mind, it never stops, it’s 24/7
KG: there’s no day off
SG: and that’s a, if you like it, which we do
KG: we do, we do like it
SG: that’s a good thing. but it’s also hard to switch off because there’s always something to think about, something to decide, something to plan. it’s it’s a constant river of decisions and issues
KG: and then you question did I make the right decision was that a stupid decision did I order that oh no that’s the 2AM we’re out of that quick Amazon
SG: it’s that stuff that gives you a reward too, so you take the, you take both sides of it.
LM: you don’t always know if you made the right decision – like, what is the right decision?
KG: exactly. we’re working harder than we’ve probably ever worked in our lives but it’s also
SG: it doesn’t feel like it!
KG: but it doesn’t feel like it. it’s it’s fun work. yeah like I’m building this thing, I’m making this thing happen, and I get to be creative and I get to try this thing and if it doesn’t work then fine, I won’t do it again. but at least I tried. what’s the worst that can happen? yes it can blow up you fail. Okay. well we’ve done sort of blowing up I mean things blowing off and
SG: nobody’s been hurt
KG: yet. not permanently, not permanently
LM: how how did you pick here versus anywhere else
KG: well we were gonna, we were thinking like you know maybe Montana, maybe Montana, and then I saw videos of the snow and the bear going into the house in the snow and I’m like not Montana. and then we thought Colorado and I’m like you know there’s Palisade and we could just get little small plot of land and you know have a few peach trees and that turned into a lot of peach trees
SG: and it’s drivable from where we were at the time
KG: it’s drivable from Phoenix. and you know let’s just go look. when I say let’s just go look that means I’ve made up my mind and I just have to get him to agree. but let’s just go look and so we went and looked and the place we bought ended up being the last place we looked at. we’re like you know what not up there that’s that wasn’t great but let’s just go tick it off the list and we get there we’re like no we don’t hate this, maybe we should call the Realtor. and we were hooked
SG: I remember driving back that night, we were driving through Monument Valley
KG: with the stars
SG: on the way back with the stars, which is another cygnus tie-in, and I was just saying every five minutes, I’m not going to be a farmer. I don’t want to be a farmer
KG: I can’t be a farmer. I don’t know what I’m doing, no
SG: I had all these notions of what a farmer was and I was like I’m not going to retire into working in the field 12 hours a day and breaking my back
LM: working harder than ever before
KG: we still do that
SG: so I was like okay, well, as long as the Ruckmans can do it then okay. you know by the time we got home we were like okay well this might work. I think for me, I I’ve always wanted to own land and the thought of owning 30 acres in Montana where it’s beautiful but what do you do? you can walk around
KG: what do you do
SG: you know what are you doing? you own 30 acres here in Palisade, you’re producing something. you’re actually making the land produce something for people to have to eat and it that just
KG: that’s the coolest thing. yeah we like producing and growing versus just sitting and observing. we’re not good at observing, we’re just, passive, not our thing
LM: what kind of peaches and grapes do you grow
KG: we have nine acres of grapes. we have two and a half each of cab franc, tempranillo and then about what, one and a third of gruner vetliner, dolcetto, and what’s the other one, I can never remember
SG: teroldigo. so three colder varieties and then the sort of the mainstays
LM: do you sell them to a local producer?
KG: they’re pretty much already sold
LM: can you say, can you say who they go to or is it secret
SG: most of them will go to Restoration because they’re just quarter mile down the road yeah so that then there’s
KG: and then red fox yeah I think is taking the dolcetto and the teroldigo.
SG: yeah so but if for some reason that they find that there’s too many grapes, which probably won’t be the case, but there’s others that can slide in. selling the grapes isn’t the problem, it’s it’s growing them
KG: it’s growing the grapes
SG: in this cold weather
KG: 2020 wiped out everything that had been on the farm when we had bought it. there was nothing left and it took out quite a few of the trees. we’ve spent the last two years replanting but we are now officially fully planted. so we’re fully planted with 12 acres of peaches
SG: nine of grapes
KG: nine of grapes
SG: and an acre of cherries and then we’ve got some plums and
KG: but the cherries are special cherries
SG: they are special cherries
KG: they’re the they’re on a UFO training, uniform fruiting orientation, so they go on a trellis they go sideways on a trellis and you train them on the wires and they grow up and it makes like a wall. it’s just a wall. it’s kind of experimental but it seems to be working quite well
LM: interesting. what’s the advantage of doing it like that versus letting it go tree-form
SG: you get a much greater density of trees per acre so the yield is incredible
KG: so where you would normally plant 100 trees we have 500 trees in one acre. so our Airbnb guests come and they’re like were you drunk when you planted them because they all grow sideways. no that was on purpose. honest we meant to do it that way
LM: I’m assuming you get some of that too to keep for yourself to eat and everything
KG: we go through after they’re done picking to sell because Ted has his own network he sells through, the Ruckmans do, and then whenever the ones that are just left over we go and get them, the sad ones and the leftovers and

LM: slightly dented
KG: the slightly dented ones that’s fine I’ll eat that no problem
LM: you know where it came from! Do you have the kind of peaches that produce early or late or mid?
KG: our first one is after the PF one through four. our first one is is it Rising Star and they usually ripen around right after the Fourth of July and they’re a semi-cling and then the rest are what about two weeks after that
SG: yeah just it’s probably eight or so varieties up there yeah and some of them we just planted so we won’t we won’t see anything for three years
KG: and I think those were meant to fill in in between the rising star and like the glowing star
LM: sure so you just have a consistent crop throughout the season
KG: so it’s not all at once because the peaches used to all be picked like within five minutes and when they were all Elberta and now they’re just sort of spaced out. my favorite are the coral star those are my absolute favorite trees, they’re my favorite peaches, they’re just the prettiest
SG: those ripen the latest right
KG: those are one of the no I think glowing star of ours is the last because those are like the purple the deep dark purple
SG: yeah and they get big
KG: the coral star just they’re giant, they’re pretty, they’re my favorite ones. I love them.
LM: I had no idea there are so many different varieties of peaches until I moved here
KG: and they all have a slightly different taste and a slightly different color and
LM: well and I so I got here in September, so I’ve only had the late season one so I cannot wait to go through the whole year this year
KG: it’s just it’s just the best yeah it’s just the absolute best. the smell, my favorite thing is the smell and it’s not just peaches, the trees have a smell, and it’s just the absolute best smell. we go through the orchard, oh there it is, and we just kind of chase that smell because it just travels. I love it
LM: it’s wonderful. it’s such a cool thing to be able to have that experience here and like how wild is that?
KG: it is, we love it, we want everyone to have the experience. like our Airbnb guests we’re like, walk through the orchard, experience this. some do, some don’t really get the nature part, but we tried
LM: what’s your favorite thing about the Palisade community
KG: I like the small town where you just know everybody, just it’s not, it’s not too many people, you know everybody, you know that if something is wrong all you have to do is call and somebody’s gonna come, somebody’s gonna come help you
SG: yeah everybody here is so friendly and it is such a close-knit community. you know in Phoenix or in Denver where we’ve lived
KG: you don’t know anyone
SG: just you go a block from your house and it’s strangers everywhere, which is, which is okay, but this is a different feeling. here you feel like you really are part of a community, not just living in a city
LM: yeah I was talking with some friends last night, we lived in Chicago for a long time and then they still live there, about how you know they kind of look at our Facebook things and they’re like wow you know a lot of people and you know you’re doing a lot of things and it’s been really fast and like and just thinking back on how different that was because you had that anonymity and I’m not gonna be able to say it, anonymity
KG: anonymity!
LM: anonymity!
KG: that’s a hard one
LM: where um you know you walk out the door and you kind of intentionally don’t look at people, you just go about where you’re going to get there, and then you know it’s just such a different feeling, a different way of living
SG: yeah yeah and on a business front, one thing that’s unique about Palisade is there, not 100% but there tends to be a cooperation among the different businesses and the different people that own those businesses. the farmers cooperate with each other and help each other, the wineries help each other and refer to each other
KG: it’s not catty and backfighting and that’s yeah
SG: right, all boats rise when everybody cooperates and you’ll see more of that from us with others in the community as we open these things. but it that impressed me a lot, it’s not just a zero-sum game, it’s everybody’s cooperating to make it work for everyone
KG: because we we all, if we all succeed that’s for the better of everyone. it’s the town we want to succeed
LM: it’s not just about you it’s about the town. Which is cool
KG: we had, in Phoenix it was very much a big city and we had our coffee shop there and a lot of rude people is the best way to put it and I was like I just I never want to be in the public again. I never want to be at the counter after just so many horrible mean people and then we were here and I was like people are different here. it’s different and they’re they’re pleasant and our one son, he worked for us there, and he and his wife just moved back here to come work on the farm and he’s worked the bus and he’s like, everybody’s really nice, what is that. I’m like yeah, I know that’s why we’re doing this. it’s because they’re nice and pleasant and it’s it’s a really, I love going to work. before I kind of just, I don’t want to go behind that counter
SG: because you’re going to get yelled at
KG: I’m gonna get yelled at or I’m gonna have a coffee cup thrown at me or you know a spiteful Yelp review because I didn’t give them something free and I’m just like I don’t want to do that, and now they’re all just nice. that’s just so refreshing
LM: right, it’s just a better way to live
KG: it really is I mean how can you be mad here? you’ve got great views it smells great, there’s fruit and vegetables everywhere, it’s just awesome. and wine
LM: yeah right so much good wine. I don’t know if I ever would have learned this if it wasn’t for Sing up the Sun, but you have an amazing singing voice
KG: oh Lord
LM: it was absolutely incredible
KG: thank you
LM: did you ever sing professionally or is it a hobby or
KG: College
SG: you majored in music
KG: I majored in Opera yeah that was that was like, another life. it’s definitely another life, but thank you
SG: well in fairness she did give up some opportunities to do the married mom thing
KG: you can’t be professional opera singer and have babies and I like my kids most of the time so we went with that. yeah yeah it’s a good trade-off. like I look back now and I’m like, wow, it seemed like I was giving something up, but then it also led me here, and I would not want to be anywhere else but here. I would not trade this for anything. do I miss music? Yes, but this is also pretty darn awesome
LM: are you ever going to be singing places or is it something you just do if your friend asks you to do it
KG: I love to do it, it’s just, there’s not a whole ton of opportunity. I got to do my lifelong dream of, I’m gonna go sing on a baseball field for the professional baseball and I got I got to do that and it’s one of the most terrifying things I can do because I’m like, I am not going to remember the words, I’m not going to remember the words. and so I ticked that off my list and I’m pretty proud of pulling that one off. I’ve done that well like 12 times now. national anthem at the spring training game
SG: spring training in Phoenix is a big thing
KG: I would go and audition. I never made it to the full, like the actual game games, I just did the spring training
SG: well, you’ve done it once in Grand Junction
KG: I did, yeah I did JUCO last year and that was pretty fun, so just fun. I do miss I miss singing just and especially with a group and covid kind of killed a lot of that, because I had a group of friends and we would just hang out and do that and then they shut everything down so we missed that
LM: well, I mean now you could start that back up again
KG: I know, I just don’t don’t know if there’s a market of people that want to do that in Palisade but
LM: all right well let’s find out we’ll ask them! you just have such a beautiful voice
KG: I just want to sing and just have fun and sing stupid stuff. so go on a road trip and sing all of the Disney songs and Broadway songs
LM: I love it. I think we talked about this a little bit too but when you get a day off how do you enjoy it
KG: what was it, um we don’t take days off, we take time off
SG: we’ll take a couple hours off and we’ll go to a local winery
KG: we’ll take the back roads in the UTV and yeah, hit up a winery
SG: yeah this morning I got to use the tractor for the third time in my life, mowing between the grape rows and that to me is is not working
KG: because it’s like it’s nice out you know
SG: towards the 30th row, you’re like okay I’m done, when is this gonna end, but I enjoy doing stuff like that, so it’s not, again, it’s just not working
LM: how can people find you if they want to find you
KG: we put on Instagram which is linked to our Facebook page where the bus is every day. if it doesn’t say we’re there, then we’re most likely here. unfortunately Google business page doesn’t let me change my location every day, they’re like no you are right here, so we have to rely on social media to tell where we are. because we were at Blaine’s this morning tomorrow we’ll be at spoke and Vine and then up to Restoration if it makes it up the hill
SG: and our central sort of website
KG: we do, yes we do have cygnuscrossing.com, that is our website and it has all the crazy that we’re doing on there as well as links to the Instagram account. oh we are taking over um, yeah, Anne is selling us, yeah we do have one more thing
LM: oh my goodness
KG: the Percy vending machine that’s outside of or out by ordinary fellows. Yeah, Anne asked if we wanted to buy it from her and that’s in process, so we’ll be taking over that. it will stay at ordinary fellows until the tea shop is open and then we will move it there because it’ll do better inside, but since we’re open so many hours there’ll be plenty of access to it so
LM: so that’s the palivend right now right
KG: palivend yes yeah
LM: cool, are you going to keep the same kind of local artists
KG: we’re doing our best to get as many local artists in there as possible, because it’s like, it’s a very finite space and the things have to fit in there so it’s like, do you make tiny art? all right we are your people. um can you can you make it a little bit smaller? and we needed to package no thicker than this so that it can fall down properly
SG: Anne’s showing us everything. we’ll probably have that as of maybe next week, early next week yeah
LM: oh that’s fun
KG: yeah so that’s a process too, everything’s in process
LM: it’ll feel good to start opening some of these things!
KG: right yeah! ice cream truck, knock on wood again, it should be up and running by within a month so
SG: followed by the town shop
KG: followed by the warehouse
SG: by the warehouse and then followed by this market
KG: many, many moons from now on this
SG: yes
LM: well I’m really excited. I’m excited for everything, yay, and I thank you so much for taking some time to talk to me
SG: yeah, thank you
KG: thank you for having us.
LM: I really appreciate it
LM: When talking with Kathy and Scott, it’s hard not to catch their infectious enthusiasm and excitement for bringing tasty things to Palisade. As I was leaving after our chat, Scott shook my hand and said goodbye with such a sincere ‘you’re welcome here anytime.’ Fingers crossed the downtown location’s permits get sorted out soon, so I can take them up on that.
Also, if there’s anybody out there who wants to sing fun songs with Kathy, now you know where to find her!
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Thanks for listening. With love, from Palisade.

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