“We very nearly didn’t have this year’s tour. It was obvious that it would just have to be canceled like everything else,” said Dirt editor and publisher Becca Tucker. “But then we started noticing all the new gardens popping up in yards right and left. People were panic-buying seeds, garden stores were considered essential, and everyone and their grandmother was growing a green onion on their windowsill. The decision made itself: this was not the year to sit it out.”
Dirt revamped the Kitchen Garden Tour to make it summer-2020-friendly. With social distancing rules in place, and an online award ceremony instead of the usual after party with food and live music, it was one of Dirt magazine’s most successful events yet. And the changes that come with the “new normal” didn’t put a damper on garden hopping or celebrations.
More than 100 locals hit the road in 93-degree sunshine to explore 15 incredible backyard food gardens in Orange and Sussex counties. Sponsor Tin Barn Brewing in Chester provided a locally inspired lunch of their craft beer and artisanal pizza.
“Everyone that attended was inquisitive, respectful, kind,” said Chris Pawelski, one of the participating gardeners.
“It was my first time showing the garden off and I loved it,” said Nicole Hixon, who took third place this year. “It was so much fun.”
This year’s winners:
Best Community Garden: North Main Elementary Community Garden, Monroe.
Third Place, Best Garden: Nicole Hixon, Warwick.
Second Place, Best Garden: Karen and John Bower, Tuxedo.
First Place, Best Garden: Ozzie Colon, Warwick.