The world has had a troubled year so far between the pandemic, locusts, and fires — life feels bleak, and we’re only in October. Still, there are many things to smile about. Like freshly brewed coffee, music that vibes exactly with your mood, warm towels from the dryer, or the eagerly-awaited season of your favorite show coming to your streaming service.
Or a chance to wander in a meadow with over two million sunflowers.
A Field of Sunflowers, a Field of Smiles
A fourth-generation berry farmer based in rural Kenosha County wanted to give the people of 2020 a reason to smile. So he chose to plant the flower that depicts pure happiness: sunflowers. Over two million of them.
Scott Thompson runs the Thompson Strawberry Farm in Bristol. It’s several miles outside of Kenosha, just off Interstate 94. He usually offers customers strawberry-, raspberry-, and pumpkin-picking. And now he has welcomed people to stop on by to be mentally healed by his bright meadow of blooming sunshine. From the street, you could see the sunflowers bending in the breeze, and the people milling around them. 
“We just did it… and we just kept building,” Thompson said. “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.” 
For a $25 admission fee, which includes the purchase of a dozen sunflowers, people can visit the gorgeous field for as long as they like. Photography is encouraged and they can pick their own 12 sunflowers to take home.
Thompson explained that many people have visited his farm from nearby cities like Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee and suburban Chicago.
“We’ve heard a lot from people in the cities who came out here,” he said. “A lot of people are saying, ‘We just needed to get out of the city and come out to a place where I could take my mask off for a couple of hours.’”
He hopes his attraction would allow people to relax and “just enjoy what reality used to be like instead of what it is now.”
The sunflowers were originally Thompson’s wife’s idea. It began with a small, 2-acre field then grew into a gigantic 22-acre sunflower haven as the tall green stalks continue to grow.
In general, sunflowers take about 60 days to mature and the first planting took place on Memorial Day weekend. The most recent one was on July 20 and already blooming.
“We planted one short ones. A lot of people plant tall ones, but they’re not really good for pictures,” Thompson said. “One of the best things about sunflowers is it makes for pretty awesome pictures. We grew shorter ones for the perfect selfie so you can get that sea of yellow behind you.”
The visitors were few at first but word spread fast once his neighborhood learned about Thompson’s endeavor.
“At first, we could sit in our front yard and ask Siri where the nearest sunflower field was, and it would send you to a spot 40 miles away,” he said.
Once more people began coming, their photos on social media began to spread across the internet. This led to the farm being featured on Good Morning America and USA Today. Thompson was even contacted from an English media outlet. 
View this post on Instagram
🌻The sunflowers are still spectacular!!🌻 Our last and largest field of the season look amazing! We will have fantastic flowers for this weekend! SO EASY TO GET TO FROM THE CITY! Bring out the family for a fun outdoor activity. 📸We’d love to see your photos!📸 Open everyday 10:00-6:00 $25/car, and you get one dozen flowers Bristol, WI www.thompsonstrawberryfarm.com
A post shared by Thompson Strawberry Farm (@thompsonstrawberryfarm) on
Here’s How You Can Visit the Sunflower Field
Here is the address information to the farm:
Thompson Strawberry Farm
14000 75th Street
Bristol, WI 53104
The contact number is 262-857-2353. Admission is $25 per car (up to six people) — this price includes a dozen flowers to pick and bring home. The sunflower season should last until the beginning of October, so don’t push off a trip if you’re interested in an afternoon wandering among the blooms. Share all of the photographs of the stunning place to spread some joy in a rather depressing news feed.
“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.’”
After all, the entire point of the field is to cheer everyone up. If you can’t make it there, hopefully these stunning photographs will suffice to bring a smile to your face.
Thompson wasn’t the first one to plant flowers to bring people joy. This Japanese man has planted thousands of flowers for his blind wife. There’s also this Japanese park with 4.5 million blue flowers.
Turns out Flower Power is real…
 ” It’s a tough year. So, a Wisconsin farmer planted 2 million sunflowers to cheer us up.” Wyatte Grantham-Thilips. USA Today. September 10, 2020
“Wisconsin Farmer Planted Over 2 Million Sunflowers to Bring Joy During Coronavirus Pandemic.” Joelle Goldstein. People. September 7, 2020
“Wisconsin Farmer Plants 2 Million Sunflowers To Make People Smile.” Scott Anderson. Patch. September 12, 2020
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