Molly Smithmyer loves to stop and smell the sunflowers on her grandparents’ farm. However, heavy rain cut the season short for the farm’s sunflower maze.
Smithmyer’s Farm in Patton, Cambria County closed its sunflower maze this week because the bad weather caused the sunflowers to wilt.
“The flowers didn’t last as long as we thought they were going to,” said Molly Smithmyer, who first got the idea to start the sunflower maze and help out her grandparents’ farm.
“This farm means the world to me,” Molly said.
Sunflowers are Molly’s favorite.
“My dad has always grown sunflowers for my mom,” she said.
Usually, the Smithmyers grow a corn maze, but this year, Molly convinced them to plant sunflower seeds instead.
“I didn’t know if it would work, but Molly makes things work,” said Tom Smithmyer, the farm’s owner.
The sunflowers started blooming in early August and within two weeks 1,500 people flocked to see the flowers.
“It kind of just skyrocketed,” Molly said.
Molly wanted the visitors to have a great experience when the sunflowers look their best, so she decided to close the sunflower maze for the year.
Though, closing the maze early won’t hurt the farm. In fact, the sunflowers attracted more visitors than the corn maze usually does.
Molly added that agro-tourism helps keep small, family farms — like hers– alive.
“My grandparents have been farming this land for over 60 years. They have built this legacy that oru family wants to keep doing,” Molly said.
Despite a not-so-sunny summer, the family is keeping a bright attitude.
“We’re proud of her,” said Tom.
“It’s just amazing. It’s like a big, bright ray of sunshine,” added Mary Lou.
“As bittersweet as it is, we’re excited about next year and what we can do to lengthen that time and get more people out here,” said Molly.
Molly plans to plant two separate sunflower mazes and stagger how they plant the flowers, so they’ll bloom longer.
Smithmyer’s Autum Farm Market will start selling pumpkins and gourds in the fall. The farm is located at 457 St. Augustine Road, Patton, PA 16668.