Sunflowers at night: chrysanthemum farmer grows 50,000 sunflowers as a secondary crop

Sunflowers at night: chrysanthemum farmer grows 50,000 sunflowers as a secondary crop

Kohei Ikehara showing off his blooming sunflowers – May 12, Sunset Farm in Gima, Yomitan

May 17, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo
By Yuki Nakamura

At Sunset Farm Okinawa in Gima, Yomitan, 50,000 sunflowers planted in artificially-lit chrysanthemum fields have blossomed, bringing new scenery to the farm. To make use of the farmland after the chrysanthemums have shipped, sunflower seeds were planted between the chrysanthemums. When the artificial lights are turned on at night, the rows of sunflowers can be seen. Kohei Ikehara, owner of IKEHARA, the company that runs the farm, said smiling, “Is this the first nighttime sunflower field in the world?”

Sunset Farm’s project was brought to the attention of sunflower farmers from Hokuryu in Hokkaido, a town famous for sunflowers, and they sent 100,000 sunflower seeds along with a suggestion to try planting them.

The seeds were planted at the end of March, and 45 days later the flowers bloomed. People are free to take home as many as they like, however due to the coronavirus entry into the farm is limited to one group every thirty minutes. The entrance fee for the farm is pay-what-you-want.

Reservations were only being taken through the 17th, however the farm has already purchased additional seeds from Hokuryu, and the farm is planning on another round of flowers for the summer.

The farm also offers a memory-making drone photography service for 2,000 yen, providing customers with the image data. Taken from above, the red lamps spell out “I Love You” over the field of yellow flowers.

Sunset Farm, which grows and ships around 4 million chrysanthemums each year, has been working on turning their farm into a tourist destination since last year.

The farm has been trying to gain fans by creating a place where growers and customers can interact, and has arranged the farm in a hip layout creating a tourist hot spot.

With activities such as making accessories in the unique atmosphere, and selling original T-shirts, the farm has been working to break out of the box of being just farmers, turning “Sunset Farm” into a brand of its own.
(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)

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