story and photos by Derek Doeffinger
If only Julie Andrews were here. She’d never stop pirouetting and singing in these blazing sunflower fields. Even without Julie, visitors have been coming from all over the world. This week includes gawking tourists from the Ukraine, Japan, Germany, England, and New Jersey (yes, New Jersey). Thanks to Facebook, the Frederick’s sunflower fields have become an international destination.
And the best part of all? The sunflower rides are free. A big old hay wagon pulled by a big old blue Ford tractor probably driven by big old John will pull you on a gentle bumpy tour through the middle of the sunflower field. During the ride you’ll be regaled with sunflower facts and fancy. Don’t want to ride? Then walk the path or take pictures of family members posing in front of hundreds of thousands of glorious sunflowers. As its reputation has spread, photographers and artists have swarmed in during the bloom season.
The Frederick farming family of John, Jan, Jacob, and Jamie (in descending age) resides on 2090 McBirney Road, just off Rt. 88 a mile north of Phelps (which is on Rt. 96). The family has been opening their sunflower fields to the public for over 15 years. In addition to the sunflowers, you’ll find a nice petting zoo set up by Jamie and likely some cut sunflowers for you to take home. Just a few days ago, Jamie hosted kids from the local daycare centers. Everything is free but if you can make a donation to their favorite charity (a hospice) or buy a small bouquet of sunflowers, they’ll be appreciative.
For more about their sunflower farm, go to: https://www.lifeinthefingerlakes.com/fields-gold.
Sunflower ride times
Friday, August 16: Start 6:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday August 17 and 18: 1:30, 3:30, and 6:30.