Searching for Sunflowers on Oahu’s North Shore
It’s that time of the year when the fields at DuPont Pioneer’s Waialua farm are bursting with bright green and vibrant happy yellow — yes, the famous sunflowers are in full bloom.
While in Bloom
For just a few weeks these glorious fields (pollinated by local bees) dazzle the senses of thousands of spectators. Typically grown each year sometime between September and December, the life of these sunflower crops is short-lived as they are harvested soon after reaching maturity. The DuPont Pioneer sunflowers span 20 acres of prime Hawaii agricultural land amongst sweet onions, fresh corn and fall melons. Typically, the hardy yet joyous flowers take 45-60 days to bloom.
Although beautiful and tempting to pick, these sunflowers are grown for their nutrient-rich cooking oil. Bred in Woodland, California the sunflower seeds are brought to Oahu for a grow out, quality testing and various observations. If standards and purity tests are met the seeds are sold to farmers around the world.
Take a Sunflower Selfie
The famous sunflower fields have been growing on Oahu for more than a decade. In 2013, the farmers decided to utilize the incredible popularity and cult-like following to support education. They opted to open the fields to the public and allow guests to visit for free, take an unlimited amount of photos and learn more about what the crops. Since then 3,000-5,000 people a year will voyage to Oahu’s north shore for a glimpse of the flowers.
Flowers for a Cause
With only 22 full-time and part-time employees working on the farm, neighboring Waialua High School stepped up to manage tour parking. At $5 a car, 100% of the funds collected for parking and other purchases go directly to the public school’s athletic programs.
Fun Sun Facts:
• There are two types of sunflowers – ones that produce confection seeds for eating and sunnies that produce cooking oil. All of the sunflowers grown at the Waialua farm are for oil.
• The most popular market for cooking oil sunflower seeds is in Europe, notably Ukraine and Russia.
• One sunflower can produce up to half a cup of cooking oil.
• Sunflower buds will follow the sun as it rises and sets, but once the flower blossoms it will only face east.
• All money raised from the sunflower tour parking fee benefits: Waialua Bullpups Pop Warner Football Team, Waialua High School Girls Softball Team, Waialua Little League and Waialua High School Project Graduation.
67-172 Farrington Hwy, Waialua 96791
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