Ottawa County

Sunflower field draws appreciative crowds to Olive Township farm

Tucked away on a quiet stretch of country road in Olive Township, amid barns and lush green crops flourishing in the midsummer heat, is a field of golden yellow that pops in the evening sun.

Lindsey Dykstra, owner of Liefde Farm, has planted hundreds of sunflowers on a stretch of land behind her home. It’s easy to miss this sight while traveling along 104th Avenue, just south of Fillmore Street, as the flowers are hidden behind her barn. 

But word has spread, and Dykstra’s quiet property, at 9400 104th Ave., is alive with a steady stream of visitors these days. She, her husband, Kevin, and her two children enjoy sitting outside and watching the photographers and happy families gathering for pictures.

“It’s nice to see people enjoy it,” Dykstra says with a smile, noting the many places that are closed due to public health concerns. “This is kind of a safer option because you can be outside.”

Improved pollination

Dykstra and her husband first planted the flowers in 2019, after she had taken a free agriculture course and was thinking of ways to bring more pollinators to her family’s land.

The Dykstras grow strawberries and blueberries on their hobby farm. They also have bees that make honey. As her first field of sunflowers grew last summer, she appreciated the sight and shared about it on several local Facebook Marketplace pages, thinking others might want to stop by.

She wasn’t prepared for the response — more than 100 messages flooded in.

“I quit counting at 120 because it was getting to be too many,” she says with a laugh. “It was like, ‘OK, I’m done.’”

Better prepared

This year, Dykstra is more prepared for visitors. She started a separate Facebook page, Liefde Farm, that already has more than 1,000 followers. There, she posts updates on the flowers’ blooming cycle. She invites visitors to check the page before coming out, but expects the flowers to be vibrant into mid-August.

Dykstra is opening the field to a wedding Aug. 9, and has a family member also planning to get married there, appropriate as her farm’s name, “Liefde,” is the Dutch word for love.

There are no set hours for visiting the sunflower field. Photographers and other visitors are welcome to come and go as they please, while also taking care to respect her property.

Dykstra placed a mailbox for donations along the edge of the field. Those stopping by should park along the side of the barn and watch carefully for her dog, cats, and young children, she says.

Read more about things to do in Ottawa County:

Libraries’ reopening brings people back to ‘community living room’

What to do in August? 8 ways to explore your Lakeshore backyard

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