Melissa Garcia, a photographer based in Vineland in Cumberland County, has been named the overall winner of the 2020 #thankyouNJfarmers social media photo contest.
The winning photo featured the Cervini Family’s self-serve produce stand located on the back roads in Vineland. The grand prize for Garcia is a $500 gift card to a business that features Jersey Fresh produce. Her place of choice was Bertuzzi’s Market in Atlantic County.
As a result of COVID-19, the 2020 season looked very different for Jersey Fresh farmers. They were considered essential workers and continued to farm during this difficult time, implementing new ways to ensure Jersey-grown fruits and vegetables reached customers safely.
The state Department of Agriculture encouraged Jersey Fresh fans to show their appreciation for the farmers by sharing photos of Jersey Fresh farmers, farms, markets or produce with the hashtag #thankyouNJfarmers. There were more than 1,000 photos submitted in this year’s contest.
“I feel like most people can relate to photos featuring farms and their surroundings,” Garcia said. “They provide a beautiful and authentic backdrop to help accentuate the quality of a picture.”
Participants submitted photos on the Jersey Fresh Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages from June 10 through Sept. 1. There were two weekly winners who received $250 gift cards for fresh produce to a Jersey Fresh market of choice and a Jersey Fresh, NJ-shaped cutting board.
“New Jersey’s working farms provide gorgeous photographic scenes that truly showcase our state, its splendor and magnificence in agriculture,” state agriculture secretary Douglas H. Fisher said. “That we annually receive more than 1,000 entries for our photo contests proves that people have a true passion for Jersey Fresh produce and what it represents.”
Garcia said she goes to several farming areas throughout the Jersey Fresh season.
“I love the rural environment and how the natural scenes can provide a charm that is difficult to replicate,” Garcia said. “I’m always excited to promote the fruits and vegetables that the Garden State offers each year.”
More information about Jersey Fresh can be found at findjerseyfresh.com.