Lisa Tice is a well-respected portrait artist who has served as chairwoman of the Rose Ball Decorations Committee and the Poinsett Club Member’s Art Show Committee.
She has a reputation for beautiful, artistic design work, but she will be the first to tell you that when meeting new folks they often say, “Oh! You’re the pumpkin lady!”
It all started nearly 20 years ago when her creative father, Frank Richman, with help from her equally creative mother, decided to help their daughter decorate her home’s porch with a variety of the largest and most uniquely shaped pumpkins they could find. He journeyed north to a farmers market in Asheville, North Carolina, and found pumpkins that were large, larger, and largest — some of them hernia-inducing sized.
Some were striped; they were selected in a multitude of colors and textures. Thus began a tradition.
Her father passed away, but Tice, her family, and neighbors had come to expect and enjoy the pumpkins each autumn. Seeing her sadness at the thought of the tradition fading, her husband, Jeff, picked up and drove her to the market to continue what her father had begun.
Tice says it was quite a task getting the pumpkins into their car. Some are so large that a front-end loader must move them. She likes to leave the majority of the pumpkins uncarved so that they can be enjoyed beyond October. She does, however, pick one each year to turn into a unique beauty.
“I never know quite how it will turn out when I star,” Tice says. “I just do it freestyle.”
How to preserve a carved pumpkin
Once a pumpkin has been carved, it has a short life span — usually not more than a few days. Try these tips to extend the life of your pumpkin, post-carving.
- Use your fingertips dipped in petroleum jelly or vegetable oil to coat the cut edges of your jack-o’-lantern. If the design is intricate, use a cotton swab.
- During the day, keep your pumpkin out of direct sunlight.
- Cover your pumpkin with a wet cloth during the day.
- If you have room in your refrigerator, place your pumpkin in it overnight.
- Place your pumpkin in a bucket of water overnight.
- Add a teaspoon of bleach to a bucket of water and dip your pumpkin in it to inhibit mold growth.
Get your gourd:
Spots to shop for large and unusual pumpkins and gourds
- WNC Farmers Market
Asheville, North Carolina
- Martin Garden Center
198 Martin Road, Greenville; https://www.martinnursery.com/
- Mauldin Open Air Market
699 E. Butler Road, Mauldin
- Roots of Greenville
2249 Augusta St., Greenville; http://www.rootsofgreenville.com/