4 Sunflower Farms To Visit < 2 Hours from Hudson County

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It’s the stuff of Instagram gold: sunflowers. Almost as popular as pumpkin spice lattes in the fall, sunflowers have been having a major moment on social media lately. And for good reason, because before we get to #SweaterSeason, we have to embrace the beauty of sunflower season.

Not only do they make a beautiful, natural backdrop to your #OOTD pics, but in most cases, visiting a sunflower field or farm is 100% free.

To save yourself the time and effort of driving aimlessly around New Jersey with the intention of locating a sunflower farm, we’ve curated some of the nearby must-visits for you. Some of these sunflowers farms start with the appeal of timeless golden beauty but offer way more than just a photo opp. A few of these farms allow you to pick-your-own flowers for your at-home bouquet and some even feature petting farms, activities for kids {like face painting}, and even mazes. Keep reading for a roundup of four sunflower farms to visit around two hours from Hudson County. 

sunflower farms hudson county

{Photo credit: @happydayfarmnj}

The History of Sunflowers

Society’s relationship with sunflowers is long and complex. If you’ve ever studied the symbology of flowers before, you might have heard that different plants and flowers {and even different colors of flowers} symbolize different things. It’s as if the giving and receiving of flowers has its own language.

For example, you might know that red roses symbolize true love, deep romance, and desire. Comparatively, yellow roses may be just as gorgeous, but their symbology is vastly different: Yellow roses tend to signify friendship. {Though historically, they first symbolized jealousy and infidelity}So, if your S/O gives you yellow roses, you may want to let them in on what their meaning is.

And roses are hardly the only flower with deep-rooted {get it?} symbology. Historically, sunflowers have been thought to symbolize adoration, loyalty, and longevity. They also have a reputation for being “happy” flowers and are given generally during joyous occasions. It makes sense right; the word “sun” is literally in their name and the sun is associated with light, joy, and brightness all symbols of happiness.

Sunflowers are also traditionally given for the third wedding anniversary as a symbol of adoration, loyalty, and strength.

One possible explanation of why sunflowers came to mean what they do now spans back all the way to Greek mythology. The ancient Greek myth of Apollo and Clytie “explains” why sunflowers turn toward the sun — a phenomenon called heliotropism. Heliotropism is the behavior of flower buds facing east in the AM and then following the sun as the earth moves throughout the day. {Side note: Maybe if humans were heliotropic, so many of us East Coasters wouldn’t have to take vitamin D supplements or suffer from Seasonal Effectiveness Disorder.}

Anyway, back to the Greeks: Clytie was a nymph who was in love with Apollo. At the beginning of their relationship, Apollo loved her, too, but it was a short-lived romance as he fell for someone else: Leucothoe. Enraged with jealousy, Clytie tattled on Leucothoe and Apollo by going to Leucothoe’s father. He punished his daughter by ordering she be buried alive. Brutal, right? But the tragedy doesn’t end there. Clytie thought with Leucothoe out of the way that Apollo would love her again, but Apollo felt Clytie had betrayed him. The story goes that Clytie grief, wilted, and slowly died.

See More: Where to Go Berry Picking in Hudson County

You might be wondering: What on Earth does this have to do with sunflowers?

Leucothoe was buried alive, but from the dirt she grew. Into a sunflower. She loved him, even as flora, and spent her days watching him as he traveled across the sky, moving the sun across it in his chariot.

Some story, huh? Tell that at your next dinner party or Happy Hour.

The Benefit of Sunflowers

Aside from the ever-fascinating Greek mythology background, sunflowers also have a lot of benefits going for them.
Typically found in trail mix or nutrition bars, sunflower seeds contain essential healthy fats and vitamins and minerals that play a role in reducing your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Sunflower seeds are particularly significant sources of both vitamin E and selenium. These antioxidants work to protect your cells against free radicals {if you’re into skincare, then you know all about that and why it’s crucial to cell turnover} and even reduces risk of many chronic diseases.

Sunflower Farms Near Hudson County

Now that we’ve totally sold you on all the hullaballoo about sunflowers, it’s time to visit a field yourself. Keep reading to discover four nearby sunflower fields and farms to visit {within two hours away from Hudson County}. 

Sunflower Valley Farm {366 County Road 12, New Hampton, NY}

sunflower farm valley

{Photo credit: Facebook}

Get ready because Sunflower Valley Farm is the stuff of children’s dreams. While adult admission is $5, kids are totally free, so it’s the perfect family activity to do on the weekends. Admission includes three free sunflowers {that you get to U-pick!} and their website recommends bringing your own cutter or scissor, as resources are limited. {You might have to wait in line if you rely on their cutter.} Any additional sunflowers you bring home to fill out that kitchen table bouquet are an additional $1.

Food and drink are available on-site and for the kiddos, there’s a petting farm {but their site recommends calling ahead to ensure animal appearances are available the day you’re coming}, face painting, and a sunflower maze complete with photo opportunities.

On-site you’ll also find fresh-picked sweet corn and local maple syrup, as well as sunflower seeds. What a great opportunity to then bring it home and teach your kids about the history {and benefits} of sunflowers while nurturing the seeds together.

According to their most recent Facebook post, it looks like the fields are currently closed on weekdays.

Happy Day Farm {106 Iron Ore Road, Manalapan Township, NJ}

happy day farm

{Photo credit: @happydayfarmnj}

For a place to go on the weekends, according to Happy Day Farm’s Instagram, they are open Saturday and Sundays from 10:00AM-5:00PM, with their last ticket selling at 4:00PM. You’ll have to wait a week though because although their IG bio says their sunflowers are in full bloom, their fields don’t reopen until September 21st.

About an hour’s drive from Hoboken, Happy Day Farms also has some other fun fall-themed festivities coming up. In addition to sunflower fields reopening on September 21st, their Apple Fest kicks off September 14th {this weekend!} and their Pumpkin Fest begins September 28th. Mark your calendars.

Sussex County Sunflower Maze {101 Route 64, Sandyston, NJ}

sussex sunflower farm

{Photo credit: Facebook}

Take a drive about an hour and 30 minutes from Hoboken and you will come across Sandyston, New Jersey, where the first-ever New Jersey sunflower maze lives. Once you visit Sussex once, chances are you’ll want to go back again and again. It really is that magical.

Open from through September 15th {it’s your last weekend to accomplish the maze}, adult tickets are $10, children four to 12 are $6, and kids three and under are free. According to their website, dogs are welcome but should be leash and children should always be accompanied by an adult while in the maze.

In addition to providing unlimited maze-related fun, the Sussex County Sunflower Maze is committed to sustainable farming and taking care of the environment. According to their website, they believe in no-till planting and promoting native pollinators like bees and butterflies. #EcoFriendlyWin

Donaldson Farm Farmers Market {358 Allen Road, Hackettstown, NJ}

sunflower farm

{Photo credit: Facebook}

A little over an hour away from the Mile Square is a cute little pocket of a farm called Donaldson Farm Farmers Market in Hackettstown.  This weekend is the last weekend for public sunflower tours {September 14th and September 15th}, so in case you miss it this weekend, there is always next year. However, check their website throughout the week and maybe even call ahead if you decide to go because the tours are always weather and condition permitting. {They event host a yearly Pick-n-Paint event, too, where you pick your own sunflowers, then learn how to paint a portrait of them.} Donaldson also hosts private sunflower tours for groups and sunflower sunset photography tours as well.

On-site, you’ll find a thriving and local farmer’s market, and as we get deeper into fall, more autumnal activities for the whole family. Starting in October, Donaldson hosts pick your own pumpkins, Indian corn, and apples, as well as a corn cannon {it’s exactly what it sounds like and families are encouraged to turn it into a competition}, corn maze, and hayrides.

They also offer pony rides, duck races, and have farm animals like baby goats and chickens. In short, Donaldson is the ultimate fall destination for fams, couples, and friend groups alike.

Do you have a favorite local place within two hours of Hoboken? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by:

Stephanie Osmanski writes honest things about health, the planet, and being a woman. Her words have appeared on Business Insider, Parade, Eat This Not That, Dogster, Scary Mommy, Green Matters, World Economic Forum, Parents, Seventeen, Life & Style, InTouch Weekly, and more. Her articles have been syndicated on World Economic Forum, MSN, MSN UK, and MSN Canada. In her free time, Stephanie and her registered therapy dog, Koda, volunteer at local hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities.