Instead of strawberries, farmer plants 22 acres of sunflowers, to lift spirits during gloomy year
A Kenosha, Wisconsin strawberry farmer wanted to brighten people’s otherwise dismal summer with fields and fields of sunflowers.
It was his wife’s idea actually. She and Scott Thompson decided people needed sunflowers in their lives more than strawberries this year, so they got busy planting 2 million of them!
“As the season went on, the pandemic never went anywhere … and we thought people might be looking for something to do, and what a great way to social distance and … smile, basically,” Thompson said.
And because they planted the seeds in phases, cheery yellow flowers keep popping up in waves, stretching the blooming “season” from 2 weeks to 8 weeks, from the beginning of August to the end of September.
And people are loving it! Especially city folk (from as far as Chicago) looking for a day off of the town where they can take off their mask, breathe in the fresh air, and bask in the sunshine alongside the flowers.
With 15 fields of flowers, there’s plenty of room to roam, take photo shoots, and pick flowers (each carload is allowed a dozen for $25).
“It’s just a naturally, socially-distant activity,” Thompson said. “People want an hour…to be outside, and just kind of feel a little sense of normalcy in our lives — so it’s had a lot of positive impact.”
While his strawberry profits may have suffered this year, his soil will be enriched next year by the sunflowers, which are known powerhouses for soil remediation.
In addition to sunflowers, Thompson also planted a field of zinnias, a field of wildflowers, and Mexican sunflowers that are known for attracting butterflies.