Tony Dighera is no mad scientist, but his latest creation looks like it came straight from the lab of Victor Frankenstein. Dighera runs a 40-acre organic farm in Southern California, and has grown what the New York Times has dubbed “pumpkinstein.”
Dighera’s pumpkins take the stress and mess out of carving pumkins—because you don’t have to do any carving to have a festive seasonal decoration. His no-carve pumpkins come fully-formed in the shape and likeness of the iconic head of Frankenstein’s monster.
The pumpkins are grown in a plastic mold, and look as though they were expertly carved by a pumpkin artisan.
On how realistic his pumpkins appear, Dighera said, “People never believe it’s real the first time they see it; they all want to touch it to make sure.”
A lot of experimentation and effort has gone into perfecting the process of unnaturally-shaped produce.
He began testing plastic molds on watermelons four years ago, trying to find the right plastic strength and shading color to firmly shape the fruit while still allowing the melon to flourish and grow. If the mold stunted the melons they would be too small to take shape; however, weak plastic molds would crack as the melons grew bigger.
Eventually he perfected the cubed watermelons, and branched out to other shapes and crops. When it came to pumpkins, he had to try 27 different varieties until he found one that complemented the monster shape.
Dighera estimates that 5,500 monster-shaped pumpkins have been harvested by him so far this year—and his entire stock has been sold out for months, purchased largely by retailers and suppliers for wholesale. The pumpkins will likely go for prices between $75 and $100.