Sunflower season arrives at area farms

photo by: Shawn Linenberger

In this file photo from September 2015, visitors take photos and pick sunflowers at the Grinter Farms sunflower fields between Lawrence and Tonganoxie.

Grab your cameras and pick out just the right outfit. Sunflower season has arrived in the area.

Hunsinger Farms Sunflower Patch opens Friday, according to owner George Hunsinger.

Normally, Labor Day weekend is prime bloom time, but Hunsinger said his flowers are ready for visitors a little early.

“With the strange weather this year, we are ready two weeks earlier,” Hunsinger said in an email. “When we finally got a rain, they headed out quick.”

Hunsinger’s sunflower patch is open from sunup to sundown at 923 East 1450 Road, south of Lawrence.

Would you like wine with that?

Berry Hill UPick Farm has about a quarter of its 10 acres of sunflowers in peak bloom, with the others expected to have staggered blooms in the coming weeks, according to its Facebook page.

The sunflowers were planted in four stages of 2.5 acres each, farm owner Jay Shively said on the Facebook page.

The farm, about 1.5 miles south of Lake Shawnee near Topeka, also offers some produce.

Shively posted on Facebook that he plans to have watermelon and cantaloupe for sale starting Friday. Anyone interested in cantaloupe or watermelon is asked to comment on a Thursday Facebook page post about the produce. Cost is $5 per melon.

Shively also noted that Glaciers Edge Winery, about 4 miles southwest of Berry Hill farms, would be releasing its StrawBerryton Wine on Friday. Shively said the winery used strawberries from his fields to produce the wine.

Berry Hill UPick Farm is open sunrise to sunset daily at 5840 S.E. Croco Road in Berryton, south of Topeka.

The little sunflowers that could

An overall dry summer has affected Grinter Farms the most.

The Grinter sunflowers, some 35 acres’ worth between Lawrence and Tonganoxie, are making their way upward, slowly but surely.

Some recent rains have helped the plants shoot up as many as 20 inches.

The farm, which has gathered a big following through the years, also has been accustomed to peak blooms on Labor Day weekend in recent summers.

Right now, Ted and Kris Grinter are expecting sunflowers to be blooming for a month. Kris Grinter posted on the Facebook page that the first blooms are on track to occur in the first week in September.

Weather conditions could change those estimates, but the Grinters will play the wait-and-see game in the meantime.

Tonganoxie, which is just a few miles north of the sunflower fields, is having its second annual Sunflower Stroll on Labor Day weekend. Artists, crafts, food, a fun run and street dance are some of the activities planned for the event, which is Sept. 1-3.

The town already is getting in the sunflower spirit, as large sunflowers adorn light poles downtown. Throughout the community, artists and volunteers also have painted sunflowers in windows of various businesses. There also is a sunflower growing contest for children.

For more about the festival, look for the event’s Facebook page.

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