Here Comes the Sun…Flower, That Is

Those who know me well have heard all about my dream of running a sunflower farm as an agri-tourism business for years.  This is a dream that will never be realized.  For one thing, I have no idea how to farm.  I can barely keep the flowers in the pots along my patio alive.  Second, even if I knew how to grow things, I’m clueless about how to turn a profit on a crop.  Then, of course, there are these bothersome little impediments:  I don’t own land on which to grow sunflowers, nor do I have any of the machinery needed to reap a harvest.   Who could overcome such obstacles?  No, my business will remain in my head.  But if you could see it, you would be dazzled…

You see, my farm is called Here Comes the Sun, and it features a rolling landscape of tall, blooming sunflower stalks as far as the eye can see.  (It’s my understanding that in reality sunflowers’ peak blooming period is in the late summer and is relatively short.  At my imaginary farm, the blooms last until early November!)   In one corner of the farm there’s a huge red barn, which serves as a visitor center.  Inside is a hi-tech classroom for crafting and cooking classes featuring sunflowers and their seeds.  There’s a restaurant with a menu featuring sunflower seeds, and (naturally) a gift shop.  One side of the barn is made of glass, which offers a spectacular view of the flowers’ slow pivot follows the arc of the sun across the sky.  I’m nearly always standing near the entrance, wearing a golden T-shirt that says “Here Comes the Sun” on the front and “Sunflower Fields Forever” on the back.  My job is to greet visitors and conduct tours.  Sigh.

Grinter Farm
Sunflower General, the gift shop at Grinter Farms in Lawrence, Kansas. The picture is from their website.

Ted and Kris Grinter are living my dream.  Their sunflower farm outside of Lawrence, Kansas has become such a huge Labor Day Weekend attraction that all of the local news stations have featured it—and the  worrisome traffic jams around it that have resulted from its thousands of visitors—on their programs.  Kansas is full of sunflower farms (it is the “Sunflower State,” after all), but few, if any, are within a stone’s throw of major metropolitan areas.  Grinter’s Sunflower Farm is only a short drive from Topeka, Lawrence, and Kansas City, and it attracts city-dwellers like magnets.   When I was there, a couple of big tractors were parked by a shed.  Visitors lined up to pose for pictures beside these tractors, the novelty of the experience reflecting a disconnect between their day-to-day lives and the very real business of farming.

Admission to the Grinter’s farm is free, though they do put out an honor box for donations of $1 from those who wish to cut a bloom to take home.   While the Grinter’s farm lacks the visitor’s center of my dream, it does have the gift shop (Sunflower General) and the spectacular view I have always imagined.   A LOT of people go to the farm, but I found that you can escape the crowds if you venture deep into the fields, where the stalks become so tall they tower over you.  On a small rise you can see wave after wave of bright flowers.  You can quite literally get lost in it all, and in such a setting, I’d rather be lost than found.

Grinter Sunflower Farm

Grinter Farms
My niece Mary at Grinter Farm. Behind her you can see the heads of other visitors popping up behind the blooms. Now and then all you can see of the people are hands holding up cell phones above the flowers to take pictures.
Grinter Farm
My niece Anne, and nephews Joseph (front) and Phillip. This picture was not posed. We were making a slow trek, single file, deep into the fields (notice there are no other people here) when I turned around to see this scene. So cute!

On the “Notes” feature of my cell phone I keep a running list of my favorite things; sunflower fields are on that list.  I sometimes try to visualize what Heaven will be like.  Certainly communion with God is the centerpiece of that world, but I hope there are sunflower fields there, too.   Sunflower fields forever.

Until next time…

Jennifer Passariello

3 Comments

  1. For me, the only consolation to summers end is the glorious sights of sunflowers in bloom! I adore them as well and have to imagine when God said the streets of heaven will be paved in gold, He refers to sunflower lined streets in Glory! We can only hope! ❤️
    Absolutely stunning!

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