Fruit of the gourds - Pumpkins go on exhibit, not in the oven

Publish Date:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

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News Organization:

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

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LEOMINSTER —  Carving out a little seasonal craft time for the residents of Sunrise Assisted Living turned out to be a lot easier than originally thought.

“I wanted to do something with pumpkins, but didn’t think we could carve them because it’s so difficult to do that,” said Lorrie Brodeur, activities director at the assisted-living facility.

“So I thought why don’t we try to just decorate the pumpkins – make faces using other types of materials,” Ms. Brodeur said.

She solicited help from a variety of places. More than 40 pumpkins were donated by the Gardeners’ Spot on Granite Street.

“I was a little worried that with the pumpkin crop the way it was this year, we wouldn’t have access to the pumpkins we needed,” she said. “Neal Zanni stepped right up and helped us out. He has a pumpkin patch at that location and was able to come through with pumpkins for this project.” She also received a gift certificate from Market Basket at the Mall at Whitney Field to help in purchasing supplies.

“It kind of looks like we’re making a crazy type of tossed salad,” Mrs. Brodeur said as she pointed to plates filled with lettuce leaves, prunes, dried apples, radishes, pea pods, cranberries, peppers, cauliflower and artichoke leaves.

“Isn’t this something?” Helen Nikitas said. “This is really turning out to be something I never expected.”

She resisted the suggestion to place “cauliflower” ears on the pumpkin – deciding instead to use the two artichoke leaves, a hint that came from Lindsay Howard of the Sunrise Assisted Living staff.

“It’s looks a little devilish to me,” Mrs. Nikitas said.

“I think it looks perfect,” Miss Howard said. “This is really a great idea. I was thinking of making one when I get home.”

After the craft time was over, the pumpkins were placed on display in the front lobby for several days.

“In this way, our visitors and the other residents will have a chance to see how they came out,” Ms. Brodeur said. “They actually look good enough to eat, and you could probably eat them.”

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