Popular sunflower farm in Tonganoxie continues to draw tourists, despite drought

Jim Cunningham
September 07, 2018 - 4:49 am

Business continues to bloom at a popular farm in Tonganoxie, even after a six-week spell with no rain this summer.

Ted Grinter has been planting sunflowers at his family farm for 35 years. His average crop is usually about 80,000 plants, which have become an annual tourist attraction in Leavenworth County.

"The ones that are blooming right now, they're probably six or eight inches shorter than they normally are," Grinter said, referring to the challenging weather this year. "I've got spots in the fields -- it looks like I planted weeds."

Grinter grows and sells sunflowers for bird seed. For years, he says local folks would come out to see the crop. Many would call and ask when the sunflowers were blooming. Grinter's daughter suggested they create a Facebook page for the farm. The telephone began to ring so often, they had to disconnect it.

"The last five, six years, people started coming out and making donations," Grinter said. "It makes up for the crop I'm not going to have this year, if we get some donations we'll be able to do it again."

People come from all over to see the sunflowers.

"We're just headed back home from a soccer tournament in Overland Park, and we decided to stop by here," said a mom from Wichita. "It's beautiful, the sunflowers -- the kids are a little afraid of the bees."

"I love it, the flowers are beautiful," said a woman from California. "People here are friendly, I love this."

The popularity of the Grinter Sunflower Farm has also led them to set up a General Store nearby, filled with gifts and souvenirs. The sunflowers could bloom into October, which is much later than usual, Grinter said.

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