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Sunflower Farms To Visit in New Jersey

by Steph Osmanski
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It’s the stuff of Instagram gold: sunflowers. Almost as popular as pumpkin spice lattes in the fall, sunflowers have been having a major moment on social media. And for good reason, because before we get to #SweaterSeason, we have to embrace the beauty of sunflower season. Not only do they make a beautiful, natural backdrop to your #OOTD pics, but in most cases, visiting a sunflower field or farm is 100% free.

To save yourself the time and effort of driving aimlessly around New Jersey with the intention of locating a sunflower farm, we’ve curated some of the nearby must-visits for you. Some of these sunflowers’ farms start with the appeal of timeless golden beauty but offer way more than just a photo opp. A few of these farms allow you to pick your own flowers for your at-home bouquet and some even feature petting farms, activities for kids {like face painting}, and even mazes. Keep reading for a roundup of four sunflower farms to visit near Essex County. 

sunflower farms hudson county

(Photo credit: @happydayfarmnj)

The History of Sunflowers

sunflower farms

Society’s relationship with sunflowers is long and complex. If you’ve ever studied the symbology of flowers before, you might have heard that different plants and flowers (and even different colors of flowers) symbolize different things. It’s as if the giving and receiving of flowers have their own language.

For example, you might know that red roses symbolize true love, deep romance, and desire. Comparatively, yellow roses may be just as gorgeous, but their symbology is vastly different: Yellow roses tend to signify friendship. (Though historically, they first symbolized jealousy and infidelity). So, if your S/O gives you yellow roses, you may want to let them in on what their meaning is.

And roses are hardly the only flower with deep-rooted {get it?} symbology. Historically, sunflowers have been thought to symbolize adoration, loyalty, and longevity. They also have a reputation for being “happy” flowers and are given generally during joyous occasions. It makes sense right; the word “sun” is literally in their name and the sun is associated with light, joy, and brightness all symbols of happiness.

Read More: A Guide to Flower Farms in New Jersey

Sunflowers are also traditionally given for the third wedding anniversary as a symbol of adoration, loyalty, and strength.

One possible explanation of why sunflowers came to mean what they do now spans back all the way to Greek mythology. The ancient Greek myth of Apollo and Clytie “explains” why sunflowers turn toward the sun — a phenomenon called heliotropism. Heliotropism is the behavior of flower buds facing east in the AM and then following the sun as the earth moves throughout the day. Side note: Maybe if humans were heliotropic, so many of us East Coasters wouldn’t have to take vitamin D supplements or suffer from Seasonal Effectiveness Disorder.

sunflower farms

Anyway, back to the Greeks: Clytie was a nymph who was in love with Apollo. At the beginning of their relationship, Apollo loved her, too, but it was a short-lived romance as he fell for someone else: Leucothoe. Enraged with jealousy, Clytie tattled on Leucothoe and Apollo by going to Leucothoe’s father. He punished his daughter by ordering her to be buried alive. Brutal, right? But the tragedy doesn’t end there. Clytie thought with Leucothoe out of the way that Apollo would love her again, but Apollo felt Clytie had betrayed him. The story goes that Clytie grief, wilted, and slowly died.

You might be wondering: What on Earth does this have to do with sunflowers?

Leucothoe was buried alive, but from the dirt, she grew. Into a sunflower. She loved him, even as flora, and spent her days watching him as he traveled across the sky, moving the sun across it in his chariot.

Some story, huh? Tell that at your next dinner party or Happy Hour.

The Benefit of Sunflowers

Aside from the ever-fascinating Greek mythology background, sunflowers also have a lot of benefits going for them.
Typically found in trail mix or nutrition bars, sunflower seeds contain essential healthy fats and vitamins, and minerals that play a role in reducing your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Sunflower seeds are particularly significant sources of both vitamin E and selenium. These antioxidants work to protect your cells against free radicals (if you’re into skincare, then you know all about that and why it’s crucial to cell turnover) and even reduces the risk of many chronic diseases.

Sunflower Farms Near Hudson County

Now that we’ve totally sold you on all the hullaballoo about sunflowers, it’s time to visit a field yourself. Keep reading to discover four nearby sunflower fields and farms to visit (within two hours or so away from Essex County}.

Sunflower Valley Farm | 366 County Road 12, New Hampton, NY

sunflower farm valley

(Photo credit: Facebook)

Get ready because Sunflower Valley Farm is the stuff of children’s dreams. While adult admission is $5, kids are totally free, so it’s the perfect family activity to do on the weekends. Admission includes three free sunflowers (that you get to U-pick!) and the website recommends bringing your own cutter or scissor, as resources are limited. You might have to wait in line if you rely on the cutter. Any additional sunflowers you bring home to fill out that kitchen table bouquet are an additional $1.

Food and drink are available on-site and for the kiddos, there’s a petting farm (but the site recommends calling ahead to ensure animal appearances are available the day you’re coming), face painting, and a sunflower maze complete with photo opportunities.

On-site you’ll also find fresh-picked sweet corn and local maple syrup, as well as sunflower seeds. What a great opportunity to then bring it home and teach your kids about the history and benefits of sunflowers while nurturing the seeds together.

Happy Day Farm | 106 Iron Ore Road, Manalapan Township, NJ

happy day farm

{Photo credit: @happydayfarmnj}

For a place to go on the weekends, according to Happy Day Farm’s Instagram, It is open Saturday and Sundays from 10:00AM-5:00PM, with the last ticket selling at 4:00PM.

Happy Day Farms also has some other fun fall-themed festivities coming up. The farm is now closed for the season while the team prepares for the fall Festival that begins on September 12th. Festival tickets will be available for pre-sale beginning 8/20. Sunflowers and lavender are in bloom from mid-June to mid-August.

Sussex County Sunflower Maze | 101 Route 64, Sandyston, NJ

sussex sunflower farm

(Photo credit: Facebook)

See where the first-ever New Jersey sunflower maze lives. Once you visit Sussex once, chances are you’ll want to go back again and again. It really is that magical.

The season begins on August 22 and ends on September 13. Adult tickets are $10, children four to 12 are $6, and kids three and under are free. According to the website, dogs are welcome but should be leash and children should always be accompanied by an adult while in the maze.

In addition to providing unlimited maze-related fun, the Sussex County Sunflower Maze is committed to sustainable farming and taking care of the environment. According to the website, the farm believes in no-till planting and promoting native pollinators like bees and butterflies. #EcoFriendlyWin

Donaldson Farm Farmers Market | 358 Allen Road, Hackettstown, NJ

sunflower farm

(Photo credit: Facebook)

A little over an hour away from the Mile Square is a cute little pocket of a farm called Donaldson Farm Farmers Market in Hackettstown. The sunflowers are in bloom from the beginning of July to the end of August. However, check the website throughout the week and maybe even call ahead if you decide to go because the tours are always weather and condition permitting. Donaldson also hosts private sunflower tours for groups and sunflower sunset photography tours as well.

On-site, you’ll find a thriving and local farmer’s market, and as we get deeper into fall, more autumnal activities for the whole family. Starting in October, Donaldson hosts pick your own pumpkins, Indian corn, and apples, as well as a corn cannon (it’s exactly what it sounds like, and families are encouraged to turn it into a competition), corn maze, and hayrides.

It also offers pony rides, duck races, and has farm animals like baby goats and chickens. In short, Donaldson is the ultimate fall destination for fams, couples, and friend groups alike.

Alstede Farms | 1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester Township, NJ

alstede farms new jersey

(Photo credit: @alstedefarms)

Founded in 1982, family-owned Alstede Farms is known for its homegrown local fruits and vegetables, sunflower fields in the summer, and apple and pumpkin picking in the fall. When the sunflowers are in bloom through mid-September, the giant sunflower maze is a must-visit — and while you’re there, pick up a handful of Zinnias and Cosmos — they make for a vibrant bouquet of flowers. Other activities and attractions at the farm include summer camp, pony rides, a petting zoo, hayrides, homemade ice cream, brunches, food festivals, a fully stocked far store, and more.

Brodhecker Farm | 2 Branchville-Lawson Road, Newton, NJ

brodhecker farm new jersey

(Photo credit: @brodhecker.farms)

Operating since 1969, Brodhecker Farms has made it a point in the last several years to focus on sustainable farming and eco-friendly practices. The most visible example is the solar panels installed on two of the barns that generate 100% of the electricity they use throughout the year. The farm specializes in livestock supplies and food, but for the summer season, the sunflowers steal the show. As of August 6th, the sunflower field has been open to the public every day from sun up to sundown — through August 23. It is $10 per carload and $1 a stem if you want some flowers to bring home.

Johnson’s Locust Hall Farm | 2691 Monmouth Road, Jobstown, NJ


(Photo credit: @locusthall)

Johnson’s Locust Hall Farm offers a true farm experience and is open to the public as well as private events including weddings. Throughout the year the farm offers different attractions and activities. Guests can enjoy hayrides, an animal farm, pick-your-own seasonal crops, and more. The market has some of the best apple cider doughnuts around, but the sunflower field that is open through September is what makes the trip worth it.

See More: Alpaca Farms to Visit in New Jersey

New Jersey Sunflower Trail at Von Thun Farms | 438 Route 57 West, Washington, NJ

von thun farms new- ersey

(Photo credit: @vtf7882)

Nestled in a scenic area of Warren County, VonThun Farms is open for the spring, summer, and fall seasons with events and activities for the whole family. The farm market offers homegrown fruits, vegetables, and Angus beef, as well as and pick-your-own strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, apples, pumpkins, and of course, sunflowers. The sunflower trail is open daily through Labor Day, no reservations are required. Don’t miss out on the special events like the Strawberry Festival, and ‘Fall Festival’ weekends.

Dalton Farms | 676 Oak Grove Road, Swedesboro, NJ

Dalton Farms

(Photo credit: @daltonfarmsnj)

Dalton Farms is a 99-acre family-owned-and-operated farm conveniently located in southern New Jersey, just off of Route 322. With family ties to the farm extending back to 1790, the Dalton Family has been curating enjoyable fam experiences for decades. The sunflower season grand opening will be held on August 29th, with food, live music, a beer garden, and wine tasting available. Check the website for updates, as it may open sooner if the weather permits, according to the social media, and open daily through September. All tickets will be $10 per person and must be pre-purchased online in order to monitor the number of patrons. Tickets will be valid for 2-hour time slots and will be released about a week from the confirmed opening.

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