“There is something magical about sunflowers,” said Doug Joyer, who is Waldoch’s GM and a fourth-generation farmer.
Sunflower season is short in Minnesota. It goes by in a hiccup. There are only so many sun-drenched days – but between now and mid-September things begin to pop.
Said Joyer: “It’s go time for sunflowers.”
Waldoch has an 80 acre footprint. The farm produces hay, gourds, pumpkins, squash and sunflowers.
Getting a sunflower super bloom requires plenty of rain and sun.
“This year we didn’t quite get the rain,” Joyer said. “Sometimes when we get more rain you get a taller sunflower, but the sunflower plant is pretty drought resistant to where if you can get it out of the ground it will grow and bloom, but it just won’t be as tall. We’re standing in this field here and it’s about waist high. If we had an above average rainfall year it would probably be chest high for us.”
Nature’s solar power
Sunflowers usually conjure up images of Kansas or North Dakota, but Minnesota turns out its share of the bright yellow flowers along with maroon and red ones too.
“I think our long days and high intensity of the sun make us pretty good,” Joyer said.
At Waldoch Farm, visitors take hay rides to the fields to snap photos or cut their own sunflowers.
“It’s just gorgeous out here,” said Jessica Johnson, who came from Detroit Lakes, MN to see the sunflower bloom.
Nature’s version of solar power has a magnetic tug on Johnson and others who come to the sunflower fields.
“I feel bad,” Johnson said. “I know it was such a hard year for farmers with that drought in the beginning of the year. But the field is looking great. They staggered the rows with the planting so they’ll be blooming for a long time here.”
Sunflowers create happy moods and produce smiles. Flowers really can cheer people up.
“On a bright sunny day like today, with the field turning yellow, it matches with our business vision of uplifting spirits,” Joyer said. “You can’t not be happy if you’re seeing the beauty of a field of sunflowers in bloom.”
The foot traffic at Waldoch Farm is steady. Sunflowers have a knack for drawing crowds.
“When you ask people what their favorite flower is, sunflower is very high up there,” Joyer said. “The people who love sunflowers just can’t get enough.”
Waldoch Farm has been around since 1916. It is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm when the sunflowers are blooming. There are four specific kinds of sunflowers – bird seed, cut flower, edibles and seed oil.