Mason Farms pumpkin painter to retire after fall
If you stop by Mason Farms on Peninsula Drive this fall, you’ll likely see Carl Wyant display dozens of his hand-painted pumpkins for the last time.
Wyant has been painting pumpkins for Mason Farms for almost 28 years. He expects this to be his last season painting mass quantities for the local farm stand company.
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The 63-year-old started at Mason Farms giving tours to school children and working in the produce section, but quickly moved on to a new role.
“They had a guy who peeled the pumpkins and sold them,” Wyant said. “I asked John (Mason Jr.) if I could try to help. He let me take home 10 pumpkins (to paint), I brought them back and before I even went to get John, four or five have already been picked up by people. I’ve been painting pumpkins ever since. “
John Mason Jr. could not be reached for comment
Wyant’s painted pumpkins continued to be a popular commodity. Customers are removing them from the shelves faster than Wyant said he could store them.
Wyant and his girlfriend, Rose Runser, paint between 750 and over 1,000 pumpkins per season. They will also paint a good number of other gourds each year. Each pumpkin and squash is then sprayed with a sheer shine to help preserve them throughout fall.
Some of their most purchased paintings feature scarecrows, local high school and NFL team football logos, and Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
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But the couple are also painting something new each year to keep up with the trends. This year they present the Baby Shark Pumpkins, based on viral animated videos of a children’s song.
“If the kids want to dress in a new costume it might be Baby Shark this year, so we’ll try to bring in a few new ones to keep people interested,” said Runser, who has started painting pumpkins with Wyant around four years old. years ago. “You don’t want to do the same things every year.”
No matter what he paints, Wyant has built relationships over the years with clients at Mason Farms.
“It’s the best thing,” Wyant said. “I just heard the stories of the people who buy me pumpkins every year there.”
A gentle retirement
Wyant’s painted pumpkins have grown in popularity over the years. He also paints them for other companies and carries out individual orders. He hopes to do more after this fall.
“I’m thinking of doing this as my senior year,” Wyant said of the pumpkin painting for Mason Farms. “I just want to reduce the volume and try to get bigger customers.”
Wyant said he wanted to start painting and renovating lawn ornaments as well.
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Jason Smith of Millcreek Township started buying Wyant’s painted pumpkins as gifts for the family, but recently asked Wyant to renovate some of his lawn statues, including a gargoyle.
“It’s amazing how he took one of my statues and made it look like granite, because it’s actually plastic,” Smith said. “He has incredible talent and patience.”
While Wyant plans to spend his pumpkin painting days at Mason Farms, they will always be a part of his story.
For now, he will continue to deliver his pumpkins until October to loyal customers who look forward to them every year.