By Michele Late, Chinquapin Gardener
ALEXANDRIA, VA – Alexandria City Council members put their tastebuds to work at the Chinquapin Organic Gardens picnic on Aug. 26.
Mayor Justin Wilson joined council members Canek Aguirre, Sarah Bagley and Alyia Gaskins in judging the Alexandria community garden’s annual Tomato Taste-Off competition. Gardener Henrik Vorloeper’s honeydew tomato won first prize for best-tasting tomato. A three-foot long trombone squash grown by Faatimah Muhammed took home the award for most exotic vegetable. Other prizes were awarded for smallest, biggest and most-appealing tomato.
The competition was part of the garden’s 25th summer potluck picnic, held at Chinquapin Park. More than 70 gardeners and their friends and family were part of this year’s event, sharing culinary creations inspired by produce from their plots. From homemade pesto and zesty corn salad to a fig tart and gooseberry pie, the dishes showed off the range of vegetables, fruits and herbs grown at the gardens.
Chinquapin Organic Gardens is home to more than 170 garden plots and serves as a wonderland for green-thumbed Alexandria residents. More than three dozen gardeners were presented with awards at the picnic for having beautiful plots at Chinquapin, with Victoria Broderick winning Best Vegetable Garden and Antonella Pianalto receiving Best Flower Garden.
In addition to growing food for themselves, gardeners collect and deliver weekly produce donations to the Mother of Light Center food pantry.