By Linda White
What’s in your refrigerator? Without personally coming into your home to check your refrigerator, I’m pretty certain you have at least one bottle of ketchup on the shelf, and it is probably a bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup. However, if you are Adam and Susan Schwartz, you have a collection of more than 300 Heinz Tomato Ketchup bottles in your home, at least one bottle or more in the refrigerator, and a six-foot replica bottle in your yard.
For this Bedford couple, their love affair with Heinz Tomato Ketchup began when they were children. When they met, it was one of the many things they found they had in common. Twenty years ago, it only seemed natural to them to share their love with their wedding guests. Susan customized labels with their names and wedding date and affixed the labels to individually-sized Heinz ketchup bottles for their guests as wedding favors.
Heinz Tomato Ketchup came to market in 1876 as one of America’s first packaged foods. More than 650 million bottles of Heinz Tomato Ketchup are currently sold annually throughout the world. Ten years ago when Heinz held a nationwide “Memories” competition and invited ketchup aficionados to share their story, Susan and Adam were named the Massachusetts winner.
Earlier this year a large, old tree in their side yard died. As sad as Susan and Adam were to lose a mature tree, it also provided a unique opportunity. The couple are serious advocates of public art, and they began considering alternatives to replacing the tree with another tree. Adam’s father suggested they save the stump and utilize it as the base for a piece of public art in their own yard. And what would be the most meaningful, fun, and appropriate subject for them? You guessed it — a six foot replica of a classic 14 ounce bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup, specifically the “Ketchup Lovers Size,” to also commemorate their 20th wedding anniversary.
Susan began to contact wood carvers and found the perfect person to make their vision a reality — Chris Letarte, owner and artist of Whalom Painting & Woodcraft in Lunenburg (www.whalompainting.com and Facebook).
The images below are (c) Chris Letarte – Click each to see at full resolution
Letarte who holds a B.A. in Fine Arts Illustration commented, “Many chain saw carvers only carve bears. I enjoy unusual assignments. I’ve had some really interesting carving requests over the years, but I have never had a request from anyone who wanted a large scale Heinz ketchup bottle. I enjoyed working with Susan and Adam on such a personal and unique project. I am very pleased with the result.”
Adam and Susan celebrated their 20th anniversary on Thursday, July 21, 2016. Their Heinz ketchup yard art was installed in their yard the next day, Friday, July 22.
“While we were not surprised the children in town laugh when they see the ketchup tree, it is great to see so many adults smile and to hear them talk about seeing more art in Bedford,” Adam observed.
Happy Anniversary to a great Bedford couple!