Vineland Photographer Captures Top Prize

Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher has announced the overall winner of the 2020 #thankyouNJfarmers social media photo contest is Melissa Garcia (pictured below), a photographer based in Vineland in Cumberland County. The winning photo, at right, features the Cervini Family’s self-serve produce stand located on the back roads in Vineland that sells a variety of produce, including tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.

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. Garcia, an architectural designer, has used agricultural settings for family and individual portraits, animal photography, and architecture.

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, innovative ways to ensure Jersey grown fruits and vegetables reached customers safely. This season, the Department of Agriculture encouraged Jersey Fresh fans to submit photographs showing their appreciation for everything the farmers were doing 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.”

Garcia visits several different 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.”

The #thankyouNJfarmers participants entered the contest by sharing photos on the Jersey Fresh Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages from June 10 through September 1. There were two weekly winners who received a $250 gift card for fresh produce to a Jersey Fresh market of choice and a Jersey Fresh, NJ-shaped cutting board. Funding for this program is provided by USDA grant allocations.

“New Jersey’s working farms provide gorgeous photographic scenes that truly showcase our state, its splendor, and magnificence in agriculture,” Secretary 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.”

Established in 1984 by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, the Jersey Fresh logo was designed to inform consumers which fruits and vegetables were grown in the Garden State. The state grows more than 100 different varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

More information about Jersey Fresh can be found at indjerseyfresh.com.

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