Wilton is more than 4,200 miles away from Italy, but the sweeping field of sunflowers in full bloom right now at Ambler Farm rivals the famed sunflower fields of Tuscany.
While Farmer Jonathan Kirschner, Ambler Farm’s director of agriculture and hands-on farmer, has planted sunflowers in previous years, this is the first year he has planted such a large area of the back hill with them. The result is a vast sea of yellow, as the sunflowers turn their faces to the sun.
“Sunflowers attract birds, which in turn help us manage pests. They also attract bees; this helps with pollination,” he explains, adding that after they finish blooming, he will plow them under to create biomass that will help nourish the soil. “Sunflowers are a great cover crop, and by turning them into the soil, they provide a natural way to help with soil depletion.”
Kirschner does harvest some of the sunflowers to sell at Ambler Farm’s farm stand (open Saturdays 9 a.m.-2 p.m.), at the Wilton Farmer’s Market at the Wilton Historical Society, (open Wednesdays noon-5 p.m.), and at the Village Market.
Residents are invited to come stroll Ambler Farm’s back hill and photograph the sunflower field in all its splendor while the flowers are still in bloom. “The sunflower season is short,” Kirschner adds, “so anyone wishing to see them in full bloom should stop by in the next two weeks.” The farm is open to the public from dawn until dusk, and it’s a much shorter trip than traveling to Tuscany and the views are just as majestic.