An American farmer planted more than 2 million sunflowers to provide a respite during this rough year

Published Sept. 7, 2020 3:06 p.m. ET

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Thompson Strawberry Farm has been around for 70 years, but this is the first year it is decorated with sunflowers. (Courtesy Scott Thompson/CNN)

Everyone could use a little sunshine in their life right now, so a Wisconsin farmer decided that's what he was going to do, and planted more than 2 million sunflowers in his fields.

Scott Thompson's family has been farming in Kenosha County for more than 70 years, and this is the first year that flowers are decorating the landscape. Usually, the pick-your-own farm consists of strawberries in summer and raspberries and pumpkins in the fall.

Located just 16 kilometres from Kenosha, Wisc., in Bristol, Thompson Strawberry Farm is drawing people to a simpler family outing where they can picnic, wander fields of florals and take home a dozen sunflowers.

Thompson and his wife thought with everything going on this year, it would be ideal to spread a little happiness to their customers.

"We just did it ... and we just kept building," Thompson told CNN.

"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."

Thompson ended up with more than 22 acres of flowers, seven of which haven't even bloomed yet. It makes for over 2 million blooms of sunshine. The flowers are planted in more than 15 fields to provide room to social distance and spread out.

"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.' People are so happy to be out there and have a place to go."

Word of their sunshine oasis has spread mostly through word of mouth as people come to enjoy a small break from reality. Thompson said that one woman came from Chicago to get away from the protests and gloom.

In addition to sunflowers, Thompson also planted a field of zinnias, a field of wildflowers, and Mexican sunflowers that are known for attracting butterflies.

Thompson said the response definitely means the sunflowers will be a regular thing at the farm, even without a pandemic.

"I'm just glad we get to have a business people are happy to come to ... and get away from the city," Thompson said.


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