HANCOCK COUNTY — A local farmer’s field is prompting a second look, with some residents stopping to snap photographs, after nearly four acres of sunflowers recently bloomed off of State Road 9 near County Road 1000N.
Vicki Fair, whose husband planted the field, said the sunflowers have been a bright spot in the middle of a summer riddled with storms
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“I’ve always loved sunflowers, especially this year,” Vicki Fair said. “It’s just been so gloomy and nasty, but that field is like looking at sunshine. We sure haven’t had a lot of natural sunlight, so it’s been nice to look at.”
Fair and husband Jim said they planted their first sunflower field a few years ago more as a novelty than a profitable crop.
That first field was planted near their landlord’s mother’s home. She loved the sight of the bright yellow flowers so much, she asked them to plant it again. Since then, the Fairs have planted at least one sunflower field a year and love the attention it draws from residents.
“It’s so neat to see everyone out there taking photos,” Vicki Fair said. “I always joke that anyone can go out and take pictures, as long as they’re pretty.”
Local photographer Jessica Green, of Greenfield, said she recently heard about the field from a friend on social media. A few short days later, after church, she used the field as a colorful backdrop for a newborn photo shoot.
She said she was happy to have stumbled across something so unexpected in Hancock County.
“I thought the field was beautiful,” Green said. “It’s nice to have something other than trees, grass and corn to look at.”
Fair added she has no issue with those who stop along the rural stretch of road to snap photos. She’ll often drive by and find droves of residents in the field.
“It’s been so much fun to meet people who have stopped by,” Vicki Fair said. “Once there was even an entire baseball team from Michigan who stopped to get pictures.”
Even though it’s a bright contrast to the dreary rain in central Indiana the past few weeks, Jim Fair said the severe weather has damaged the crop. He added that seeds are starting to form, making the heads much heavier, which causes the sunflowers to droop.
But residents who haven’t had the chance to visit the field shouldn’t worry about missing out on the sight. Jim Fair said another field, which will bloom sometime around Labor Day, was planted just last week.
The current crop will be harvested sometime in September, with the second crop harvested around late November.
“These flowers have been a bright spot in a dreary growing season,” Jim Fair said.
The couple, who own and operate Fair Farms and Produce, said they’ve since found value beyond the aesthetic qualities the field produces. They harvest seeds for use in cattle feed and use the sunflowers to make decorative wreaths.
The Fairs farm nearly 700 acres of land around Hancock County, some of which is rented from F and P Farms, and grow more than just sunflowers. Their produce stand also offers seasonal produce and hanging baskets.
But out of all the crops, from melons to corn, the sunflowers are a favorite.
“I’ve always loved the way they looked and how pretty they are,” Jim Fair said. “It’s been nice to see people get so much enjoyment from them.”