Bidding cards are raised as one of the 22 donated pies is auctioned off at the Patagonia Community garden fundraiser. Photo by Robert Gay

Raising money for Patagonia Community Garden was as easy as pie at the annual community pie auction that took place on September 9. 

Although this year’s auction was only half as large as in years past, the event was still a wonderful way to catch some small-town spirit and sample magnificent pies. 

The event started at 4p.m. with a group of mostly Patagonia locals catching up at tablecloth-laden picnic tables to the backdrop of live music, dancing, and monsoon flowers in full bloom. Event attendees had the option of buying a $20 hot dinner from Emily Riney and The Happy Cookers catering company which featured a variety of barbecued meats and classic side options like macaroni salad, cornbread, and cold lemonade. Tickets for attendees who did not want to buy dinner, but still wanted to attend, were only $5. 

The auction itself began around 5p.m. and featured 22 different pies, baked to perfection to suit both sweet and savory palates. All pies were made by local residents, with a large proportion prepared by those associated with, and invested in, the community garden. Prices ranged from $45 for an anchovy, tomato and spinach quiche to $215 for a chocolate pecan pie. Some other pies auctioned off included a Boston crème pie that went for $125, a pumpkin pie that sold for $135, and a blueberry pie that went for $85. 

In true small-town spirit, bidders were eager to lay their claim to pies that were produced by known adept hands with a reputation for quality cooking. “That [pecan pie] was cooked by Mary [Mary Jane Pottebaum], and you know that if she cooked it, it must taste really good,” said a guest at the event. Following the auction, many generous pie winners shared their pies with others in attendance.

Pie tins and boxes were available for pickup by request from The Gathering Grounds Café throughout the preceding month. The goal of the pie auction and dinner was to raise money for the Patagonia Community Garden, with all proceeds going directly to subsidize the cost of gardening plots, soil, fertilizer, and compost. 

This year’s low attendance—previous pie auctions featured 40-plus pies and around 80 paying attendees—was disappointing, especially considering that the low cost of monthly plot rentals, which is currently only $5 per plot, is heavily dependent on community fundraising. Still, the auction served as an easy way to meet, greet, and support local efforts to grow, harvest, and enjoy local produce and flowers.