Formerly anonymous farmer of famed Waxhaw sunflowers calls fields a ‘gift back to the community’

Formerly anonymous farmer of famed Waxhaw sunflowers calls fields a ‘gift back to the community’

WAXHAW, N.C. (WBTV) - What a group of local farmers in an area of Waxhaw near Weddington did not intend to become a big phenomenon now draws crowds of people from across the county to the famous “Waxhaw sunflowers.”

Now on its second year on Highway 16 near Ennis Road, the popular site is experiencing a few changes, this season.

“I could sit out here for hours,” visitor Sarah Estock says.

The seven acres of sunflowers are now considered a welcome Waxhaw tradition.

“Last year I never stopped, because they had all the signs that said, ‘Don’t stop,’” Sarah Estock adds.

But this year, there is space just in front of the flower field for sightseers like her and her daughter Kaitlyn to stop and take a look.

“It makes us realize why we moved here,” new neighbor Michelle Keith says. “Because we don’t have this small-town stuff like this in Illinois.”

And now, the once-anonymous farmers are putting a face to all this hard work.

“It takes some work and effort,” Randy Peterson says. “But it’s really a gift back to the community.”

Peterson is representing a group of farmers from Roots Farms who are behind the 140,000 seeds planted into the soil. He says it is all a labor of love.

“It’s really uplifting and inspiring, and understanding that we all come from different places, where we can kind of intersect out in a sunflower field, is kind of a neat thing sometimes,” he says.

Peterson and his son Colton are meeting dozens of people whenever they decide to come out to the fields, from families to photographers, or people fighting sickness and other challenges.

“It’s very therapeutic,” he says.

It is early in the season with plenty of time to visit – Peterson says the flowers just reached their maturity. When at the fields, he likes to tell visitors “the only admission is a smile.”

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