Three area teens conducted a personal photo shoot at Oak Rest Farms’ sunflower field last week. (From left) Adelia Mahaffee, 17, of Wheatland; Madison Heck, 16, Paddock Lake and Molly Grabarec, 17, of Wheatland.

Area sunflower field creates buzz

By Jason Arndt
Editor

A sunflower field on the outskirts of Burlington has not only attracted admirers from multiple counties, it has created a buzz on social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook.

The buzz started when owners Joe and Jen Greeter bought the parcel of land on Highway 83, just south of the bypass, within the last two years.

“We bought it a year and a half ago to add on to the family farm,” said Joe, a fifth generation owner of Oak Rest Farms, which has been in operation since 1852.

The Greeters, who lost part of their family farm because of the bypass highway, decided to convert the former cornfield into a sunflower field with Joe’s 1919 McCormick-Deering corn planter.

Joe said the buzz has stunned his family.

“It is on Facebook, it is all over the country,” he said on Sunday. “We had people from Waukesha, we had people from bridal parties out here yesterday doing photo shoots.”

Joe, a blacksmith and horseshoer by trade, and Jen, who is a horse trainer, did not believe their sunflower field would become an attraction.

Unique attraction
Molly Grabarec, 17, of the Town of Wheatland in Kenosha County, said the bright yellow field jumped out as her as she headed into the City of Burlington on errands.

The sight, Grabarec said, was enough to convince her to bring some friends along for the field exploration.

“Growing up, I had tons of flowers and plants around my yard, but never sunflowers,” Grabarec recalled. “Seeing thousands upon thousands of them was a really neat experience.”

With her friends Adelia Mahaffee, 17, of Wheatland and Madison Heck, 16, who is from Paddock Lake, the trio took many photos.

Four Waterford teenagers discovered the sunflower field on Instagram – an image-based social media platform – and decided to make a trip.

Charli Zelechowski, 17, who went with her sister, Mckenzie, 16 and two of their friends, saw it is an opportunity to nurture her love of photography.

“I love taking pictures and we try to find interesting spots, and then I saw all over Instagram, this place and it looks really pretty,” Zelechowski said.

Her two other friends were the Guardiola sisters, Ana, 12, and Bella, 13.

Like Zelechowski, Wheatland’s Kylie Shane, 19, felt compelled to visit the field after finding several of her friends had posted photos on Instagram.

“I actually found out about it because of Instagram posts,” she said. “I think it’s a popular place to visit because it’s something different around here.”

Family fun
The sunflower field, however, is not only for teenagers.

Burlington’s Jim Pavlich visited the field with his family, including wife Emily, and came away with a handful of sunflowers.

“We drive past it all of the time and the kids asked me about picking your own sunflowers,” Pavlich said about his two children, Nora, 8, and Nathan, 6. “So, we stopped and the kids got really excited.”

A look ahead
Greeter, whose family hopes to preserve the farm, plans to bring back the sunflower field in 2019 when his great-grandfather’s McCormick-Deering corn planter marks a century of use.

“We will do it next year,” he said.

Greeter said there is the potential of adding other sunflower variations to the mix.

 
 

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