Just off of busy Sound Ave. in Baiting Hollow is a lush field with bright yellow sunflowers. It’s late in the day, so the petals face west, following the rays of sunshine as the sun travels across the sky. This two and a half acre plot of land is filled with the yellow beauties, and over the past few weeks has become a popular attraction for Long Islanders and beyond.
This is the sunflower maze at Rottkamp’s Fox Hollow Farm. After opening at the end of June, about 200 to 250 people a day have been visiting, Jeff Rottkamp, one of the owners, said.
“There’s a lot of calling for it,” he said. “I saw other farms were doing it, and why don’t I bring it to Riverhead? I thought, Who doesn’t like sunflowers?”
This location isn’t the original patch Rottkamp’s opened over three weeks ago. About 1,000 feet down the road is where the first sunflower maze was opened. That one acre patch was traded up to this one, more than double the size, on Monday when the flowers came into bloom.
“These were planted around May 1,” Rottkamp said about the second field. “These started popping in the middle of last week.” He plans to run the sunflower maze through autumn this way in stages, moving to a new field in bloom as the previous one dies away.
“This [field] will last until about July 30th approximately, maybe a little later,” he continued. “But then there is going to be a small break in between. I have a third field that I actually just planted this morning. That should be ready around September 10th and will go until October. And then I am going to plant the fourth field, maybe next week, and get that through some of October.”
The timing of the sunflowers’ growth depends mostly on the weather, both past and current. “We had a wet and cold spring; it takes a little longer for them to come up,” he said. “If you have a nice, hot summer, they will come up quicker.”
The price of admission to get into the sunflower maze is $5 per person with children under five being free. Despite its name, the maze is more of a pathway. “You’re not going to get lost. The rows kind of intersect,” Rottkamp said. “The pathway is random; I just drove around with the machine.”
Thursday through Sunday, the dessert truck For Goodness Cakes Co. is parked near the sunflower field, serving up Instagram-friendly desserts like stuffed macarons, a cookie dough cone and a brownie crunch sandwich. The truck sells out almost every day it’s there.
To wander your way through the sunflowers while munching on a macaron, visit Rottkamp’s Sunflower Maze at 2287 Sound Avenue, Baiting Hollow.