Rays of Sunflowers

I can gladly say that if you seek it, you shall find it. There are always so many things to do in and around our city. Or as my mom says “you all always find the strangest most interesting things to do.” Thanks to a friend, I recently learned about Sweetfields Farm. Sweetfields Farm is a pick and pay produce farm located out in the county,  but it has so much more than produce to offer. During the month of May,  Sweetfields Farm opens up their sunflower maze to the public as the sunflowers reach the peak of their blooming.Located about 45 minutes to an hour outside of the city limits, Ryan, Amaya, our friends Brandon and Apryl, and I hiked out to the country to experience the maze for ourselves. We attempted to get their early to beat the crowd, but we weren’t the only ones that had an early morning trip to the farm in mind. Granted the window for the peak of the sunflowers blooming is very short and it was one of the first weekends to witness the gorgeous blooms, but shortly after their 10 A.M. opening the farm was bustling with visitors.

Spring admission to the farm gets you onto the farm grounds, access to the sunflower maze, hay barrel rides around the grounds, access to pick from the produce, and a few other activities. As you walk through the entrance you are greeted by large fields of sunflowers to both your left and right  and ahead of you sits a beautiful barn which houses rows of church pews for sitting, fresh produce, flowers, and where you pay for any produce that you choose to buy.

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Before diving right into the sunflower maze, we decided to wander around a bit. To our surprise, there were a number fun outdoor games, animals to see, and play areas scattered throughout the property. So we chose to start with the pig race. Not to worry,the pigs are treated well and the property boasts that they are part of the farm “clean up crew and are able to gobble up all of the veggie scraps,” that their hearts desire.

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Sweetfields Farm is honestly the perfect location for all ages. There are literally activities for everyone there. After the pig race we ventured over to play a little homemade checkers and Connect 4, followed by barrel races, feeding the goats,  and meeting Rosie Moo Moo, the cow. Amaya had a blast learning how to play some of the games we enjoyed as children with Apryl.

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The guys were even able to expose some of their inner cowboys by testing out their lassoing skills. They weren’t too bad for a few city slickers.

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As the crowds continued to pour into the farm, we decided that we better get on our way and enter the sunflower maze. Although there are a so many activities to partake in, the crowd for the maze starts to grow fairly quickly and attempts to stagger the entries into maze still will leave you to soon find people hot on your tail.

Before you enter the sunflower maze each group is given a sheet of paper with a series of multiple chose questions that if answered correctly will lead you to find you way out of the maze. An example of a question is ” what does ukulele mean in Hawaiian?” You will be given 2 options each accompanied by a direction (left, right, or straight). The correct choice will lead you to the next marker where you will have to answer the next question correctly to find the next marker. There were 8 or 9 questions and markers to be found to successfully find the exit. IMG_3103IMG_3110

As we entered the maze, I hadn’t envisioned and was astonished to see how tall the sunflower stalks actually grew. The more mature ones were easily 9-10 feet tall. The vegetation was so dense that attempts to peer through the stalks and leaves to see if anyone was down the next row were often failed attempts. Basking in the rays of sunflowers was breathtakingly beautiful. With the towering of the flowers over us and the overcast sky, the name of the flowers easily was put to the test that day.

sunflowermaze-2005sunflowermaze-1994sunflowermaze-199291B0603B-5475-46BB-8F3F-73F2DD84CE4F Between occasionally taking an intentional wrong turn to avoid the crowds that were piling up behind us and spending a few extra minutes down dead ends, we found a little bit of peace in the sunflower maze. Amaya so excited about the maze and finding her way out, more so than I had anticipated, that we ended up letting her lead the way. 

Ultimately, most resorted to just following the crowd ahead of them and hoping that someone could lead them along the right path. If you didn’t make the correct turn you were likely to end up at a dead end or walking in a circle. Luckily for us, Amaya was able to get us to the exit. I always tell her what a “smart cookie” she is and this was no exception.

Before we left the farm, we all had to take advantage of the ability to let out our inner children and swing on homemade swings hanging from a moss ordained oak tree. I had almost forgotten how fun swinging used to be.

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All in all the trip was a success. We all had a great time and enjoyed seeing something new and outside of the city limits. Although, the maze in only open for a month, it is something I would mark on my calendar again for the next year. There is fun to be had for all ages and it’s not every day that you can boast that you wandered through a maze of flowers in Florida.

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I would love to hear about some other unique finds in your area that come highly recommended. If you have ever been to Sweetfields Farm and would like to share some of your favorite parts or about your experience, feel free to share them in the comments.

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