Our family has had the tradition of going to the Buttonwood Farms Sunflowers for Wishes event for the last three years now. I’m not quite sure how we discovered it, but we liked it so much the first time we went we decided to keep going. Buttonwood Farm is about an hour’s drive from Hartford in Griswold, Connecticut. This year the event runs for a week beginning July 20th, so there’s still a few days left for a visit.
For a small donation (I think it’s between $5-$10) you can take a hayride through the scenic hills of the farm into the cow field. There the tractor stops and lets you feed the cows. The kids get a big kick out of this, especially if there are calfs. Once the cows have been sufficiently fed the tractor continues on it’s drive into the sunflower field. The tractor stops in the middle of the field so that you can take pictures of the flowers. The tractor then takes you back to the parking lot. The whole ride is about 30 minutes. There are also cut sunflowers available on a first come, first served basis for $5 a bunch. All proceeds from the hayride and sunflower purchases are donated to the Make-a-Wish foundation of Connecticut. Last year’s event raised over $700, 000.
Perhaps the best part about the whole trip is the ice cream. The farm has an ice cream stand and you do not want to miss a chance for a frosty treat. The ice cream is incredible, creamy deliciousness. The farm does not take credit so be sure to bring your cash. One year we forgot and had just enough money for the hayride, but none left over for ice cream. Lovey was not happy. If you plan a trip, be sure to get there early, the crowds really fill in as the day goes on. We try to get there right at 10 when they first open. Ice cream for lunch never hurt anyone, right?
From the Buttonwood Farms website:
In 2003 at the suggestion of a friend, we planted a one acre field of sunflowers. As they began to blossom, we learned that people were coming from many miles away to admire and photograph them.
We planted the sunflowers for people to admire their beauty and to compliment our rural environment. Although the flowers were beautiful, we had not thought about what we were going to do with them. When the blooms expired, we used them as feed for our cows.
We felt that we could find a better use for the flowers, and in turn, have established the “Sunflowers for Wishes” fundraiser.
The fundraiser is to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut, a non-profit organization devoted to making wishes possible for children with life-threatening medical conditions.
In 2004 we planted 10 acres of sunflowers, providing approximately 300,000 blooms for your viewing pleasure. As the event has been so popular we will continue to plant 14 acres again this year.
All photos credit S. Fuss