The Pumpkin Man stays in business for now

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Bud and Connie Durrant stood outside their one-story brick home in Orem with thousands of pumpkins at their feet. The couple, both in their 70s, greeted customers by name with customers greeting Bud as “the Pumpkin Man.”

Families poured out of minivans and strolled around the yard as kids chased each other.

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A woman shops for pumpkins in the Durrant's front yard. Every year around halloween for the last twenty years, the Durrants have sold pumpkins out of their front yard.
For 20 years the Durrants have been selling their pumpkin harvest from their front lawn but it wasn’t until this last year an anonymous neighbor approached City Hall with a concern about zoning issues.

As a residence operating for six to seven weeks out of the year as a small business, there was a tense moment while the Durrants and their regulars waited to see if tradition or policy would win out.

Residential planner, David Stroud, said Bud Durrant has been given the “go-ahead” to continue selling the pumpkins this year but the case has yet to go before city council.

Local developer Paul Washburn is, according to Bud Durrant, hopeful for years to come.

“Mr. Washburn came last week and said I will be selling pumpkins for a long time,” Bud said.

Every morning the Durrants rise at 5 a.m. and head to their 60-70 acre farm.

“Every day except for Sunday,” Connie pointed out.

Both show the wear of sun and hard labor — their skin is a brown most have to pay for and the lines etched around their eyes suggest a fair amount of squinting in the sun over the years.

“You have to love it,” Bud said about the hard work of farming. “And boy do I love it. I love the soil between my hands and knowing I’m producing something that will bring others joy. I’m putting food on other people’s tables.”

Much of what they produce on their farm, which includes far more than pumpkins, is sold at grocery stores in the valley.

“BYU students are eating our locally grown food even if they don’t know it,” he said.

But before he found his career in agriculture, Bud Durrant began as a mechanic — 1930 Model A Fords and the like decorate his property.

“They actually have a license to drive,” he said. “I built them out of junk.”

Eventually, he settled on farming and when he married for the first time in 1960 he was paid 57 cents an hour.

Growing up, Bud Durrant’s daughter Brenda Wing said he made life an adventure for his children.

“We were always going fishing,” Wing said. “And besides that he would bring home some of the wildest things. Once he brought home pickled pigs’ feet!”

His business partner, Dave Cook, has proven a great ally through the years, Bud said, despite their humble beginnings.

Today the Durrants are a deeply religious people. A statuette of Christ sits on the living room table and the couple said they use much of the money they earn from the pumpkin business to pay tithes and offerings.

In separate interviews, theĀ  Durrants cited their greatest joy comes from the children that come with their parents to buy the pumpkins.

Bud created a round circle with his hands.

“Their eyes get this big,” he said about the children. “Oh, they are the best. Just the best.”

Both had previous marriages, so the Durrants now brag about nine children and 46 grandchildren. When asked about great-grandchildren Bud just shook his head.

“I haven’t a clue,” he said. “I would need a paper and pencil and a whole lot of time.”

As dusk dimmed to night and the crowds grew thin, Bud looked at his wife, the pumpkins and then the people.

“Life is good,” he said. “Life is good.”

 

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