Five acres of bright, cheerful sunflowers are still in bloom, for a short time only — the window of time for the blooms is rapidly closing. You can find them at Liberty Farm, located at 1300 D Road in Loxahatchee Groves.
Rajesh Sinha, of Palm Beach Sunflowers, is proud of his test field of black oil sunflowers.
“They range from two to four-and-a-half feet tall. We use them for birdseed, cut flowers and, in New Jersey, we press them into cooking oil,” he said.
The Sinhas have a sunflower book about their sunflower maze in New Jersey.
There are 10 educational check-in stations along the quarter-mile to half-mile path cutting a peace sign through the field, with a kids’ scavenger hunt, a photo frame and more to explore in the sandy sunflower field.
Sunflowers have to be planted every year and are heliotropic, meaning that when they first bud, the blooms follow the sun. “Once they fully open and bloom, they face east only,” Sinha said. “Morning pictures are beautiful.”
The family has been farming sunflowers for 10 years. They’re the largest black oil sunflower farmer on the East Coast, and partner with the New Jersey Audubon Society, supplying seeds to 31 stores. This year, they’ve started pressing cooking oil.
“The first year we grew sunflowers, we had a 10-acre test field, and it was gorgeous,” he said. “If you get inside the field… the pictures are amazing.”
At the New Jersey farm, they cut a maze into the field and opened it up to the public to take photos.
Now, they’ve replicated their sunflower maze in South Florida.
Sinha’s wife, Jolene, was born and raised in Florida, which has brought them to South Florida over the years to visit friends and family. Sinha’s father-in-law, Jody Plitt, helps out and has been painting a mural at the maze.
Honeybees fly throughout the field and are friendly, he said, although he suggests avoiding hairspray and perfume, and carrying an EpiPen if bee allergies are a problem.
There are two types of sunflowers, confection and black oil. Confection sunflower seeds are the commonly eaten seeds; however, the plants grow 6 or so feet tall.
Sinha flew down to the area in December to get the field ready, and Palm Beach Sunflowers opened to the public Feb. 1 and will remain open until Feb. 19.
Next year, they will plant even more sunflowers.
Daily admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children ages 4 to 12; children 3 years or younger are admitted for free. Individuals are permitted to bring horses, by appointment only, for $50 per horse. The flower heads and seeds are edible. Seeds, books and individual sunflowers are available for sale.