August is officially the month of sunflowers. And we are incredibly lucky to have some spectacular places around Rochester to celebrate and photograph this fantastic late-summer flower! These are the fields of dreams and the perfect backdrop for family photos, selfies, and en plein air painting.
At each of these farms, you can expect lots of people parked along the road on the weekends. If you can venture out early in the morning or evening, a rising or setting sun reveals beauty not witnessed in full sunlight. I have visited Hopkins Farm on a Tuesday morning around 7:30 am when it was slightly raining and the sky was a soft, steel gray. It was a visual treat, and I had the entire field to myself.
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.Helen Keller
1. Hopkins Farm
Each August, neighbors of the Hopkins Farm on Clover Street in Pittsford are treated to a field of golden sunflowers on their daily commutes. People from outside the immediate area start asking “Are they there yet?” and then word starts to travel, and we all find out that “They’re here!”
I start changing my commute around August 1 to find out for myself! The timing depends on the amount of precipitation we have received all summer. One year, I stopped on August 3 and the field was completely lush and green. Five days later, they were blooming.
There are several fields used in annual crop rotations, so the sunflowers move along Clover anywhere between Calkins and Lehigh Station Roads, alternating places with the soy beans, wheat and corn. This sunflower field in Pittsford free to visit, with no planned activities or entertainment; just beautiful sunflowers.
Learn more about Hopkins Farm, established in 1813 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of very few 200+ year old farms in this area. There’s a book you can read online entitled Reflections on Big Spring: A History of Pittsford, NY and the Genesee River Valley. Stop by their produce stand while you’re in the area.
2. Wickham Farms
Wickham hosts a weekend, ticketed Sunflower Spectacular Festival around the last few weeks of August and first week of September. For 2020, the dates are August 15 – September 7–open every day from 10am-7pm.
From their website: Join Wickham Farms for the fourth annual Sunflower Spectacular Festival! Our sunflower farm is conveniently located in Penfield, NY, very near Rochester, NY (12 minutes). Come and enjoy the end of summer and beginning of fall in New York by exploring the beauty and colors of more than one Million sunflowers! Enjoy the beautiful scenes by wandering through all of the different sunflower varieties on our sunflower farm. Afterwards, you can cut the perfect bouquet directly from our fields!
3. Stokoe Farms
Stokoe Farms is another 200+ year old farm on this short list! For decades, we’ve loved Stokoe’s for their Pumpkin and Christmas Tree experiences, and we’re so happy to enjoy them even earlier in the year for sunflower season!
From their website: Celebrate the bounty of summer with Stokoe Farms Sunflower Experience! Enjoy over 250,000 sunflower blooms from the palest of yellows to the deepest velvet reds. Our spacious, picturesque farm is the perfect way to enjoy a day in the great outdoors.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, August 8-23, 2020. Daytime and twilight times available, as well as special events.
4. Sunflowers of Sanborn
The field is always free to view, but help the family farm out by purchasing concessions & novelties. They also host events like Food Trucks in the Field, art shows, and other themed days.
They take a different approach from Wickham Farm—the activities seem geared more toward adults while remaining family-friendly.
Head toward Niagara Falls on NY-31 about 90 minutes. The Sanborn sunflower field is near the intersection of NY-31 and Baer St.
NOTE: The farm will not be hosting sunflower events in 2020. Please read their Facebook post for more information.
There are sunflowers for days, with a large pathways carved right down the middle making it easy for everyone to find the perfect backdrop for family photos and sunflower selfies.
The farms offers hayrides at no cost, though encourages a donation to benefit House of John–a hospice in Clifton Springs. You can also purchase sunflower seeds, oil, and flowers.
Frederick Farms’ sunflower field is located about 45 minutes from Rochester.
Need a few more places to enjoy the sunflowers while they last?
Thorn Farm in Clyde
Lincoln Hill Farms in Canandaigua
Where are your favorite spots to find sunflowers?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!