Sunshine on a Cloudy Day: Visiting a Sunflower Farm

Sunday was a gloomy, gray day. A day where you could sleep forever, unless you have a golden retriever who wakes you up at 6:30 to make sure you don’t miss a moment of your Sunday. Inspired by our sweet dog’s early waking, we decided to go sunflower farm hunting.

We’ve seen lots of pictures on social media with couples kissing in sunflower fields, and also senior portraits of smiling teens amidst the golden heads of flowers. But neither of us had ever seen a field filled with blooming sunflowers in person, and we hoped to find a bit of sunshine on the cloudy day.

We started off seeking a field that was allegedly in Rotterdam. But even with lots of persistent driving, circling back, and referencing google maps, no such field appeared to exist.

So we set off to the second closest field on our list: Golden Acres Charolais Farm in Westerlo. We knew it was late in the season, but thought perhaps we’d get lucky enough to stumble upon a field a flowers.

After some lovely twists and turns on country roads, and seeing lots of barns along the way with flower gardens highlighting the landscape with purple hues, we made the right turn onto Route 143 by the Westerlo Library. The historic building housing the library caught our eye, as it has a gorgeous barn quilt on the side of the landmark site, known as an early store in the area.

A few moments later, Jim slowed the car to find a field of heavy sunflower heads, chins to their thick stalks, filling an old corn field. We were curious that no owner or farm worker was present to greet us or collect monies from us, and folks were seemingly wandering around the field picking flowers. Could this be the well photographed and social media promoted sunflower farm?

We pulled in and tumbled out of the car into the front lawn of the farm house, parking near a few other visitors adjacent to the barn. Small families were walking in the field, some picking the sunflowers.

Jim and I followed a very thick path, weaving in and out of the rows and rows of plants ready for harvest for bird seed (the intention for this crop). Joining us were honey bees in the over 100,000 sunflowers. The plants’ thick stalks were each a presence, reminding us of wading through fans at SPAC when we attended a Dave Matthews concert.

But today, only birds provided music, and laughter could be heard from children. If you held really still, you could even hear the bees humming.

We snapped some photos, and recognized that the flowers perked up once the sun came out.

Owners Gerry Boone and Laura Tenney opened their farm to the public during COVID 19 to bring joy to the community, and it certainly was a unique sight. The flowers seemed to be dancing with joy as families found their way through the heavily seeded field.

While the farm is closed after today to visitors, we realized how many farms in the Nippertown area offer fun outings for families to explore crops, landscapes, and just meet others. August ushers in some harvest months, and we have pumpkins, apples, and lavender to look forward to in coming weeks.

Jim had brought me flowers (just because) the night before, so we opted to leave the gorgeous heads of seeds for the birds. But we snapped some photos and held hands as we headed back to the car amid the maze of bright yellow flowers.

We found sunshine – even on a cloudy day – in Nippertown once again!

The farm in full bloom. Photo from Golden Acres FB page.

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