Brighten your day with the amazing sunflower

North Dakota isn’t a stranger to brightly colored crops that reach the peak of the growing season in mid-summer. Take a look around.

Vast tracks of Flax take on a bluish-purple look; canola radiates with bright yellow buds that stretch to the endless blue sky; soybeans vine out in a sea of green; and wheat goes through various stages of green and golden brown before the harvest in the fall. Flax – which can appear as water in the distance – and canola bloom in late June through July.

Nothing, however, compares to the amazing sunflower.

Perched atop strong stalks and shining bright yellow toward the rising sun, the heads appear as millions of individual suns heralding the start of another day in North Dakota. Perhaps they play a role in North Dakota’s high ranking among the happiest states in the nation. After all, you can’t help but smile when you come upon some of the large fields scattered throughout the state.

  

Where do you find them? Pretty much everywhere, but not in the same place each year. Growers rotate crops as a way to manage and maintain soil health and fertility. What is a wheat field this year, may be a sunflower field next year.

But let’s get back to sunflowers. North Dakota Tourism often receives calls from soon-to-be fiances wanting to know where to find sunflower fields as a location to pop the question. The best time to do so varies, as the fields reach their peak colors depending on planting and weather. The best time is usually early to mid-August. Most landowners don’t mind visitors stopping to look at the fields as long as they are respectful and don’t enter or drive into the fields. Click here for some of the best places to view the 2018 sunflower crop.

It’s from here that your snack for next year’s football of baseball games originated. It's also the ingredients for other delicacies like North Dakota sunflower pie. North Dakota leads the nation in sunflower production and its uses include birdfeed, confectionary seeds, sun butter and sunflower oil.

Here are some of the best areas in the state for sunflower viewing in summer 2018:

Along Interstate 94

  • A) West of Tower City from exit 307
  • B) Steele to the South Dakota state line
  • C) Menoken exit along Highway 10
  • D) Scattered fields from Bismarck to Medora

Highways

  • 1) Highway 83 from Bismarck north to Highway 5
  • 2) Highway 83 at 136th Avenue to 26th Street (off-highway location good for photo oppportunities)
  • 3) Highway 83 from Bismarck to the South Dakota state line
  • 4) Highway 22 from Dickinson north to Highway 23
  • 5) Highway 85 south of Belfield to the South Dakota state line

If you want to know more about sunflowers, go to the National Sunflower Association website.

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