OOLTEWAH, Tenn. — (WRCB) It's the middle of July which means it is time for sunflowers in Ooltewah.
Off of Ooltewah Georgetown Road, you will find a summertime treat with fields of sunflowers in bloom. Some flowers are fully opened now, while others will bloom over the next few days.
Smith-Perry Berries are opening up their sunflower fields to the public starting on Friday, July 12 at 7:00 a.m.
This year, they have about 34 acres of flowers, which equates to 850,000 flower blooms.
They planted the seeds on May 18, and it takes about 60 days from seed in the dirt to blooming sunflower.
"We got a later start this year, unfortunately, because the weather didn't work well for us. We had a lot of rain early. It took a long time for the fields to dry, and once they did, then they started growing. As soon as they started, it went dry on us," Bill Perry, partner of Smith-Perry Berries & Ooltewah Sunflowers, said of growing process.
The dry weather at the end of June and beginning of July has affected this year's crop slightly.
"It has kind of made them a little bit shorter this year than normal, and the heads appear to be a little bit smaller. A smaller crop because of the dry weather we had," explained Aubie Smith, Farm Owner & Partner.
Even with the weather, the farm is filled with sunflowers for you to view, pick, and photograph.
They don't charge for you to come out into the field, and there is plenty of parking.
"We'll actually open at 7 in the morning, and we're open til dark. We'll have a bucket we'll sell for $15 for you to go pick some flowers in. You can buy by the stem for a dollar," Perry stated about their process.
You can take your own sunflower photos free of charge, but professional photographers do need to register and pay a $35 fee.
The sunflower blooms only last for so long, so plan your visit soon.
"About 10 days once they start blooming. Then it is like everything else. They bloom and come up and then they reach their peak. Then they start for a few days to taper off until the seeds get so heavy, it actually pulls the heads forward. And, they are not as attractive to look at," advised Perry.
You may bring your pets, but make sure to clean up after them. Additionally, no smoking or alcohol are allowed.
Also, with a chance of rain in the forecast, it is a good idea to grab your rubber boots to help out with any muddy conditions in the field, or you may want to lay down cardboard over your vehicle’s car mats.
The sunflowers are located at 9626 Ooltewah Georgetown Road in Ooltewah, which is located near Chattanooga. You can find updated information from the farm on Facebook.
Perry also reminds everyone to be cautious driving along the road as there will be more traffic and people crossing the street during this time.