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It's been a tough year. So, a Wisconsin farmer planted 2 million sunflowers.

[Sept. 10, 2020: Wyatte Grantham-Philips]

A Wisconsin farmer knows people need a reason to smile this year — and he hopes 2 million sunflowers will do it.

Scott Thompson, a fourth generation berry farmer, said it was his wife's idea to bring blossoms of sunshine into the mix this year.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, they knew they wanted to help people, especially those in nearby urban areas, with an escape "to get away from their reality for a little bit," Thompson told USA TODAY.

So, over five weeks, Thompson progressively planted sunflower seeds across 22 acres. The grand number of 2 million wasn't originally in his head — but the result allowed visitors to experience (and Instagram) a 6-8 week bloom instead of a typical 10 to 14-day stint.

“It just keeps going and going — and I think that’s really captured the hearts of people," Thompson said.

“Every single day has just become busier and busier."

Thompson Strawberry Farm is about an hour from Chicago and a 35-minute drive to downtown Milwaukee. The establishment offers "Pick-Your-Own" strawberries, raspberries, pumpkins, and now sunflowers.

"You get to walk through these beautiful fields," said Thompson.

The final (and biggest) field of sunflowers has yet to bloom. According to Thompson, 750,000 blossoms are 7 to 10 days away. Depending on weather, he thinks this year's sunflowers will last until the end of September — or another 3 weeks.

“It’s just a naturally, socially-distant activity,” he said. "[People want] an be outside, and just kind of feel a little sense of normalcy in our lives — so it’s had a lot of positive impact.”

“And whether we made a dime or not, we’ve sure had a lot of fun doing it.”

This Brighter Side of News post courtesy of USA Today at


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