One of the 39 donated pies is shown to the audience as Pat Chacon auctions it off at the fundraiser. Photo by Robert Gay

The Patagonia Community Garden Pie Auction fundraiser drew more than 100 people to the ramada in the garden on the corner of  4th and Duquesne Aves on Sept. 10. The event raised more than $7,000 for the non-profit garden, a record-breaking amount, according to Community Garden Co-President Martha Kelly. Auctioneer Pat Chacon sold 39 pies that had been donated to the auction. The Happy Cookers catered the event, serving 103 dinners, and the Stringbenders provided live music. 

The funds raised will be used to replace fruit trees in the garden, improve the irrigation system and to buy stock tanks to use as raised beds. The garden is being transitioned to all raised beds because of the difficulty of gardening in the bermuda grass-infested soil in the garden. 

There is space available for new gardeners, according to Kelly. People can rent a plot for $5/month. The fee includes organic soil, wood chips and straw for mulch, tools, and water. The size of the plots varies. 

The community garden was founded by local gardening expert Kate Tirion in the late 1990s. Kelly and the late Janet Winans took over the garden over a decade ago. Janet and her husband Woody Winans started the tradition of the pie auction after seeing one in another town.  

This year’s auction and dinner, which has been held annually for the past 15 or 16 years, according to Kelly, was organized by a committee that included Andy Wood, Emily Riney, Richard Connolly, Helen Chester and Kate Peake.

Contact Martha Kelly at 520-604-0300 for more information about renting garden space or to donate to the community garden.