Why You Should Visit a Sunflower Farm in New York
If you’re looking for something unique to do as summer comes to an end, visiting a sunflower farm is the perfect thing for you! Whether you’re gathering flowers for your vase, entertaining your kids, or trying to get the perfect picture ‘for the ‘gram’, find out all you can do at a local sunflower farm in New York. Check out my experiences in Rochester and Rome.
Originally published September 2, 2019. Updated August 13, 2020.
Wickham Farms Sunflower Spectacular
Rochester, New York has earned the name “Flower City” for a reason. In addition to the Lilac Festival every spring, several farms have gorgeous fields of sunflowers at the end of summer. Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Wickham Farms just outside of Rochester for their Sunflower Spectacular. Though the skies were gray, my spirits were not!
Wickham Farms is proud to display 30 varieties of sunflowers with over 250,000 blooms in their fields. (That’s 11 more varieties than last summer!) Let me tell you, it was pure joy wandering through the fields and admiring all the different kinds.
There are two different levels of admission to the Sunflower Spectacular. Standard admission includes entrance to the farm and sunflower fields, two sunflowers, and a hayride. The cost is $10 on weekends and $9 on weekdays. If you’re looking to get the most out of your experience – particularly if you’re visiting with kids – opt for the other admission. For $15 on weekends and $10 on weekdays, you also get access to all of the activities on the farm. This includes a corn maze, jumping pad, animal encounters, and more! Perfect for spending some time with the kiddos. Children 2 and under are free.
With the current regulations due to COVID-19, tickets must be purchased online and will sell out based on maximum occupancy on the farm.
Inside the main barn, you’ll find a café and gift shop. Decently pressed sandwiches, desserts, and drinks are available for consumption onsite. While I was disappointed it wasn’t quite apple cider season, I opted for some giant snickerdoodle cookies. As I ate mine on the car ride home, I was crushed that I didn’t get more! That was by far the best snickerdoodle I ever had. Be sure to treat yourself!
Drinks for the Adults
If you’re traveling without the kids (or even if you are!), right next to Wickham Farms is Oak & Apple Cidery. While it technically opened in 2018, the season was only a short 5 weeks long. So, 2019 marks their first full season serving cider to the public. The tasting room is gorgeous and the staff was very friendly, engaging in conversation with us naturally. While I normally go for the sweeter end of the spectrum, I found myself drawn to the Bairille Dair, aged in French Oak.
What Happens with the Sunflowers?
Don’t worry! The flowers don’t go to waste. Most sunflower farms harvest the seeds and oil for people – and birds – to eat. At Wickham Farms, when sunflowers are still in bloom at the end of the visiting season, they make bouquets and donate them to Golisano Children’s Hospital. I honestly can’t think of a better way to use them.
That’s not all! Most sunflower farms keep operating to the public throughout the fall with apple picking, pumpkin picking, hayrides, and more.
Another magnificent field of sunflowers can be found in Rome, New York. Wagner farms has sunflowers as far as the eye can see. It’s incredible! And they plant the crops in stages, so different sections of the field are in bloom through different parts of the season. There’s less of a chance you’ll miss the perfect time!
More Than Sunflowers
In addition to the flowers, there is a field of buckwheat with walking paths through it. There’s also a corn maze that you can go through during the day, or a haunted version at night.
Wagner is an active farm, producing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. They claim to have the best sweet corn around – so make sure you get some to take home!
All of the fields and trails are ADA compliant.
Access to all of the fields and walking trails is only $5 per person, children 2 and under are free. Adults can add another $5 to get a wagon ride through the fields, riders under 21 are free.
Events at Wagner Farms
Weekend nights at Wagner include live music and lighted trails to walk through in the dark. Another popular event at Wagner is their haunted maze and wagon rides. The actors change it up nightly, playing to the crowd and the time of year. Check it out for yourself!
Other Sunflower Farms in New York
Wickham Farms is not the only place you can find sunflowers in New York. Browse this list to see which farm is closest to you, just be sure to check their website before visiting to make sure they are open. Most farms celebrate sunflowers blooms in late August, but a few have festivals earlier in the summer.
Frederick Farms – Clifton Springs (not open to the public for 2020)
Garden of Eve Organic Farm – Riverhead
Hudson Valley Cold Pressed Oils – Pleasant Valley
Inn Between – Camillus (not operating for 2020)
Kelder’s Farm – Kerhonkson
Sunflower Valley Farm – New Hampton
Sunflowers in Sanborn – Sanborn
For more farm festivals in Central New York, check out the Lavender Festival at Lockwood Farms in Skaneateles and the Harvest Festival at Critz Farms in Cazenovia.
Have you ever visited a sunflower farm in New York?
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