The COVID-19 pandemic cast a long shadow over what would normally be the carefree summer months. Health restrictions and travel bans forced many people to cancel vacations and scale back large get-togethers.
It seems as though there hasn’t been much to smile about lately, so one Wisconsin farmer decided to plant a field of happiness on his farm. In fact, he filled some of his fields with 2 million sunflowers!
Scott Thompson typically offers customers at his for-profit family farm, Thompson Strawberry Farms, the chance to pick their own strawberries in the summer as well as raspberries and pumpkins in the fall, according to CNN.
But this year, when the pandemic hit, Thompson and his wife wanted to find a way to make their customers happy, while also adhering to safety guidelines.
Putting their heads together, the couple ultimately decided to plant sunflowers — over 2 million of them — which could be safely picked by customers across 22 acres and more than 15 fields, the outlet reported.
“We just did it … and we just kept building,” Thompson told CNN. “As the season went on, the pandemic never went anywhere … and we thought people might be looking for something to do.”
“And what a great way to social distance and … smile, basically,” he added.
Thompson ended up with more than 22 acres of flowers, seven of which haven’t even bloomed yet. It makes for over 2 million blooms of sunshine. The flowers are planted in more than 15 fields to provide room to social distance and spread out.
“One of the things that’s so cool about this is everyone is so happy,” Thompson said.
“We get all these comments on Facebook, or if I’m out in the field, everybody is like, ‘Thanks for doing this,’ (and) ‘This is what I needed.’ People are so happy to be out there and have a place to go.”
Word of their sunshine oasis has spread mostly through word of mouth as people come to enjoy a small break from reality. Thompson said that one woman came from Chicago to get away from the protests and gloom.
In addition to sunflowers, Thompson also planted a field of zinnias, a field of wildflowers, and Mexican sunflowers that are known for attracting butterflies.
Thompson said the response definitely means the sunflowers will be a regular thing at the farm, even without a pandemic.
“I’m just glad we get to have a business people are happy to come
Now, visitors can head to the flower fields to pick their own blooms. From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day through September, visitors can stop by and pay $25 per car (up to six people) to pick a dozen flowers (either sunflowers or zinnias.)
While visiting, you must also snap some photos so you’ll always remember your time spent in a field full of sunshine.
“I’m just glad we get to have a business people are happy to come to … and get away from the city,” Thompson told CNN.