So remember Sunflower Gate 2018?
It seems like anything and everything can be Instagrammable these days, and as the seasons come and go, there are always certain imagery that pops up on your feed without question every season. Spring is tulips and pastels, summer is beaches and pools, fall is pumpkins, and that magical time as summer starts transitioning to fall is sunflowers!
Not only are the plants super beautiful to look at, but it seems like everyone wants to snap a pic of them for the ‘gram. I remember looking through my feed last year filled with jealousy over all the photos I was seeing being posted of the sunflowers in Abbotsford, British Columbia. I was able to snap a pic here in Manitoba, but at that time, it was on private property and you had to still stand on the road and angle the camera so it looked like you were close enough to the actual flowers without being near them.
Thankfully, this year I didn’t have to do that since I got the opportunity to visit Abbotsford, B.C. to see the sunflowers up close and personal.
I’ll be doing a whole post soon on the full itinerary of what I did when I went with Tourism Abbotsford and Flair Airlines, but I really wanted to share highlights from the Fraser Valley Sunflower Trail since there is a short gap that you can visit and the sunflowers really only bloom until the middle of September.
The Fraser Valley Sunflower Trail is a number of different spots in the area to see and take all the selfies you want with the sunflowers. Abbotsford in general is a very cultivated city (in fact, that’s their new tagline) in that it’s a city, but it’s also filled with many outdoor experiences and agriculture.
Taves Family Farms – 333 Gladwin Road, Abbotsford
The first stop on our tour was Taves Family Farm, which added a sunflower patch to their list of offerings this year (the patch is included in the price of admission). The farm, which is officially open seven days a week as of yesterday, features many attractions and is the ultimate family-friendly spot. As mentioned, the sunflower patch spans over a quarter acres and features many different varieties of sunflowers (seriously, I didn’t realize that there was more than one type of sunflower). Since the sunflowers are at the back, you can take a short hay ride to the spot, or walk five minutes and take in all the other sights of the farm.
In addition to the sunflowers, Taves is also the ultimate fall spot, as they have a pumpkin patch, a petting zoo, a country store (try the apple cider slushie), apple picking, and much more.
Maan Farms – 790 McKenzie at Vye Road, Abbotsford
After Taves, make your way to Mann Farms, which is a short three-minute drive away.
What started as a fruit stand, Maan Farms now offers a restaurant, a store, an estate winery (they were recently awarded Best Fruit Wine in Canada – try the raspberry wine), U-Pick berries, a petting zoo, ziplines, and more.
Maan’s sunflower patch was definitely the most Instagrammable of the bunch since they added in items and props as you walked through the field. For example, there was a yellow door you could walk through, a swing, a pick-up truck, couches with hollow photo frames, and more. They also had some elevated levels where you could snap photos of the whole field, which looked so stunning with the mountains behind them. Considering this was their first year doing the sunflowers, a lot of effort went into making it unique and memorable for visitors.
Maan Farms was one of my favourite stops and if you’re going strictly for Instagram photos, then this one is a must since it has all those unique features in the field.
Campbell’s Gold and Honey – 2595 Lefeuvre Road, Abbotsford
We didn’t actually visit Campbell’s Gold and Honey, but it’s also an amazing stop on the sunflower trail.
The farm is actually a licensed meadery, which produces a number of honey wines. What you typically don’t see in all those Instagram sunflower pics is the amount of bees that are flying around and landing on the sunflowers.
At Campbell’s, the sunflowers were actually planted for the bees and the honey they produce is made from the bees that roam their farm. They also have a country store that sells a variety of other honey items made on-site from their little friends.
Eco-Dairy – 1356 Sumas Way, Abbotsford
Out of all the stops on the trail, Eco-Dairy was the most unique.
Eco-Dairy is actually located at the corner of Sumas Way and Highway 1 and is surrounded by strips malls and other businesses (for example, there was a Starbucks across the street). The business is actually the first demonstration farm of its kind in Canada and is the perfect family-friendly destination to visit (and for those who are interested in farm culture). The space features a number of buildings with interactive learning; for example, you can take a barn tour or watch a robotic milker in action.
Eco-Dairy also has U-Pick berries, a store, and a half-acre sunflower field, which is the only one we visited where it’s completely free to go and roam. The sunflower field here is a lot smaller and taller than the others we went to, but if you are more budget conscious or just want a quick pic, then Eco-Dairy is definitely the spot to go to.
Chilliwack Sunflower Festival – 41310 Yale Road, Chilliwack
Okay, so the one spot you are most likely to see on Instagram is probably going to be the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival, which runs August 1 to September 15. This spot is also the place where they have the tulip festival in the spring as well.
The Chilliwack Sunflower Festival has 20 acres of sunflowers with 35 different varieties. Although the other spots had a large area of sunflowers, it was more of an add-on thing to what they already offered. With this spot though, this is their main attraction.
The area is very large and features well-groomed trails with a number of photo ops and props throughout as well. There is a rustic old car, a windmill, a bridge, swings, and much more. My favourite part actually was the three-acre field of dahlias, which featured 54 different varieties of all shapes and colours. Since this was our last stop on the tour, it was nice to see some other flowers and you get multiple photo opportunities if you want to change out the floral scenery (just make sure you bring a change of clothes to swap out!).
In addition to the flowers, they also have some food trucks and picnic tables, so you can definitely make an afternoon out of it.
Although you may not want to hit up all the spots in one day, every place mentioned here really does have different offerings to them. Most of them were farms that allowed you to partake in other activities as well (because let’s be honest, there is only so much time you can spend taking photos of sunflowers). I will note though that going into this trip, I didn’t realize how many different varieties of sunflowers existed and how they all don’t look the same. Some of them were giant, some of them were super tall, some had some orange rings in the pedal, some had long pedals, others had small, and others were just those stereotypical flowers you see in photos. I also learned many facts about the sunflower just by walking around since a lot of the stops had fun informational signs about them.
I will note that if you are afraid of bees, then be warned, bees love sunflowers and they will be flying around and landing on them. I personally have never been stung and is slightly afraid of them, but I did feel very calm in the patch since they don’t really bother you (they have better things to do). Also, if you are going for the sole purpose of taking photos, then go as late in the day as you can. We went in the morning and afternoon when the sun was at its brightest, creating shadows on your face when you snap a picture. Check out the hours of operation for these spots and try to go an hour or two before close for the best lighting.
Abbotsford and area has some of the most incredible spots to take advantage of, so if you have always wanted to visit a sunflower field, I highly recommend checking it out. Like I mentioned, I will have a full recap post coming up soon on here which mentions other fun things you can do in the area, but if you are looking at heading out here it’s a super easy flight with Flair Airlines, who flies from Winnipeg to Abbotsford.
Have you been to a sunflower patch?
Please note, this trip was in collaboration with Tourism Abbotsford and Flair Airlines, who provided airfare, accommodations, food, transportation, and access to all activities. All opinions are my own.
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