Image Source: https://patch.com/
After a troubled start to 2020 that involved the coronavirus pandemic, a fourth-generation berry farmer in rural Kenosha County planted more than 2 million sunflowers in hopes of giving people a reason to smile.
Scott Thompson operates the Thompson Strawberry Farm in Bristol, located several miles outside Kenosha just west of Interstate 94 between Milwaukee and Chicago. From the road, visitors can see fields of waving yellow sunflowers and people milling through the seas of color.
For $25 per carload of guests, customers can come out to the farm and wander about the sunflowers for as long as they’d like. Photography is encouraged, and guests can take a dozen flowers home with them.
Thompson told Patch he’s heard from a lot of people who traveled to his farm from nearby cities, such as Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee and suburban Chicago.
“We’ve heard a lot from people in the cities who came out here,” he said. “A lot of people are saying, ‘We just needed to get out of the city and come out to a place where I could take my mask off for a couple of hours.'”
Thompson said he hopes people who come out can take a break to “just enjoy what reality used to be like instead of what it is now.”
Planting sunflowers was Thompson’s wife’s idea. He started by planting a small, 2-acre field. That endeavor eventually grew this year into a massive 22-acre sunflower operation, with waves of the tall green stalks rising throughout the season.
Sunflowers take about 60 days to mature, Thompson said. His first planting started Memorial Day weekend. The last planting was on July 20. Those should be blooming by the end of the month.
“We planted one short ones. A lot of people plant tall ones, but they’re not really good for pictures,” Thompson said. “One of the best things about sunflowers is it makes for pretty awesome pictures. We grew shorter ones for the perfect selfie so you can get that sea of yellow behind you.”
Thompson said it was slow going at first, but word of mouth spread quickly once the community realized what he was up to.
“At first, we could sit in our front yard and ask Siri where the nearest sunflower field was, and it would send you to a spot 40 miles away,” he said.
After people started coming out, the photos they took began to spread like pollen, with Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook taking on the role of bumblebees.
As word spread, his farm has been featured on “Good Morning America” and USA Today, and he even received a call from a media outlet in Manchester, England.
How To Go
Thompson Strawberry Farm
14000 75th Street
Bristol, WI 53104
Sunflowers are available daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Admission is $25 per car, which includes 12 flowers to bring home.
The season should last until the end of September.