Sunflowers are pretty much universally loved, and with good reason. What I like most about the sunflower is its ability to bring a smile to someone’s face. It’s hard to walk past a giant sunflower and not stop to examine its intense beauty.
A friend of mine by the name of Sara Louise recently told me about a sunflower field and farm that is open to the public, about 45 minutes outside of the city.
Upon hearing of this local field trip, I couldn’t believe that I was not previously aware of this flowery destination. I asked my friend to tell me about her recent visit, which she did, after proclaiming her love for the flower thusly:
“Ever since I took a train ride through a sunflower field in Switzerland, they have been my favorite flower. I remember that there were bright green grass fields, and tall golden sunflowers in all directions.”
She went on to say that she especially loved the sunflower because it is uplifting and makes everyone happy. “I went with my boyfriend and our dog. There is a giant field of sunflowers, and then there’s another section where you can cut your own sunflowers to take home with you. They give you scissors (cleaned after each use), just be sure to bring cash… it’s a dollar a sunflower (or $5 for a dwarf sunflower).”
It turns out that there are over 100,000 sunflowers growing on this “U-Pick Sunflower Field,” according to the Sunflowers of Sanborn website. There are also six different varieties to choose from. I also learned that that the farm is owned by a third generation farm family – the sunflowers were planted by the current owner/farmer named Louise, along with her husband and two daughters. It’s a tribute to her parents who passed away. The story goes that she was looking for ways to bring some ‘cheer’ to the farm and came across a photo of a sunflower field in a magazine. That was all the inspiration that she needed to get to work on planting the tribute to her parents, which has now become a celebrated annual pastime for thousands of Western New Yorkers.
When I told my wife about the sunflower farm, she reminded me that sunflowers were her sister’s favorite flower. Whenever we pass by one of the giant golden flowers she is reminded of Marissa, who passed away some time ago. She also told me that sunflowers can track the sun with their faces, and when the sky is cloudy they are attracted to each other and face each other, by picking up on each other’s golden radiance.
The other day I read an article that a growing trend is cooking and eating sunflower buds, like an artichoke. One way to do it is by braising the meaty heart. My wife refreshed my memory that the Gedras have been known to serve up sunflower hearts at Black Sheep over on the city’s West Side.
If you’re not into eating sunflowers, then you can simply pick them for their beauty. Or even better, you can stand among the giant flowers in the field and visually appreciate them for what they are, and what they represent. While you’re paying a visit to Sunflowers of Sanborn, you are also welcome to purchase a treat at the concession stand called the Sunflower Grill and Creamery. There’s also a Sunflower Sifter on the farm, which gives an inside look into the heart of the operation.
Depending on the time of year, visitors are invited to walk down the sunflower trail, or try out the corn maze (no pun intended). There is no charge to walk around the sunflower field, to soak up their collective glory.
For any and all other questions, there is a handy dandy FAQ sheet, which can be accessed here. Unfortunately, there is only a short window to visit this regional field of daydreams – the destination is open to the public from August 1 through Labor Day. That is the time period when the sunflowers are in their true glory.
Sunflowers of Sanborn | 3311 Saunders Settlement Road | Sanborn, NY 14132 | 716-628-9513