Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Idgie’s Sunflower Farm, a family owned and operated sunflower farm in Nebo, Kentucky, right by my hometown. I was able to sit down with the owners of Idgie’s, Daryl and Kim Patton, to chat about their farm. I was so surprised (and excited!) about what I learned from them!
The Patton’s are HUGE nature lovers! This year, they started planting sunflowers at their family farm for a very good reason: to try to attract bobwhite quail back to the area. The Patton’s are major fans of the bobwhite quail and began noticing that the birds weren’t coming around as often. They reached out to some bird-loving friends for tips, and were told to plant sunflowers. Apparently, the bobwhite quail goes nuts for the seeds!
In addition to the bobwhite quail, sunflowers are great for bees and butterflies! I saw more bees during my visit to the farm than I had in a very long time, which gave me lots of hope that the local bee population is building back up! I also saw tons of monarch butterflies, an endangered species.
Another perk of the sunflower farm is that the flowers give the deer a tasty, distracting treat! The Patton’s also grow gourds that they sell to be used for art. The deer were eating all their gourds, so they needed another plant for Bambi to chomp on. So far, the sunflowers have done their job.
The Patton’s are incredibly connected in the local community. When interest started picking up in the sunflower farm, they knew that they wanted to do something to give back to the community. They give back by donating 20% of sunflower sales to Western Kentucky Teen Challenge, which aims to break the cycle of substance abuse by helping at-risk kids and addicts in the area. Teen Challenge has two local locations: a Men’s Center and a Women’s Home, which help people from all over western Kentucky.
Unfortunately, Idgie’s Sunflower Farm is now closed for the season. Luckily, they will be opening again next spring! Once they reopen, you will need to shoot them a message to schedule a time to go out and take pictures, cut sunflowers, or both. Follow Idgie’s Sunflower Farm on Facebook to stay up-to-date on what they’re doing!
When I visited Idgie’s, I was so happy to find such a special gem nestled near my home! What local treasures have you come across? Let me know in the comments below!
PS: If you want to see another side of Kentucky, be sure to visit the Bourbon Trail!