1989 - Volume #13, Issue #5, Page #31[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Plastic "Face Forms" For Garden Vegetables
The forms let you put faces on pumpkins, squash, watermelons, cucumbers and other solid type vegetables (tomatoes or peppers won't work).
Inventor Richard Tweddell, of Cincinatti, Ohio, started shaping vegetables 10 years ago. He got the idea working one summer as a fruit picker. "I started noticing that the fruits and vegetables grew around obstacles that got in their way, changing their shape. I started experimenting with different shapes and found out they'd grow into almost any shape."
Vegiforms, as he calls them, consist of a 2-piece clear plastic mold that is secured over a growing fruit or vegetable while it's still on the vine. As the fruit or vegetable grows within the mold it gradually assumes the shape of the mold until it completely fills it. At that point, the mold halves are removed. If you harvest the living sculpture at that time, the face will hold its shape. If you let it continue to grow, the face will grow with the fruit or vegetable, but will stretch out the way a face on a balloon stretches out when you blow up the balloon.
In addition to elf and gnome faces, Tweddell also has VegiForms that form diamond or heart-shaped zucchini or cucumbers, and a corn-on-the-cob form that turns a yellow squash or gourd into a realistic-looking cob of corn.
"Interest is tremendous. Some commercial growers report that they're able to get as much as $3 apiece for a zucchini or cucumber shaped into a heart or diamond. When sliced they retain their heart or diamond shape for cooking or use in salads. Squash or pumpkins shaped into elf faces make outstanding decorations and gourds work great because they retain their shapes permanently. They're big sellers," says Tweddell.
On some fast-growing vegetables, it takes only a few days to form a face. "A squash takes a week or less. One mold can do 14 squash in a growing season," says Tweddell, who has also experimented with forms that make "celebrity" faces such as Elvis Presley and Ronald Reagan. He is not yet selling the celebrity molds due to licensing problems with the people or the estates of the celebrities.
"People have a lot of fun with the corn-onthe-cob mold. When you use it on a yellow squash it looks just like the real thing. If you slip it into a pile of corn on a plate, someone almost always bites into it before they realize what it is," says Tweddell.
There are five different molds and all sell for $9.95 each. For cucumbers, zucchini and other similar-shaped vegetables there's the "Pickle Puss" face (2 forms included), and the diamond, heart, and corn-on-thecob-shaped molds. The fifth mold is the Garden Elf which is about 6 in. around and is intended for pumpkins, squash, melons, gourds, and other round fruits and vegetables.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, VegiForms, 2 Burton Woods Lane, Cincinatti, Ohio 45229 (ph 416 533-3521).
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