In 1975, Buttonwood Farm began as a humble dairy farm with an old sawmill to mill its own lumber. But since those early days, the farm has been expanded to produce feed for cattle, milk for wholesale distribution, and beef cattle for resale. And they’ve since rebuilt the old sawmill.
In 1998, the owners added an ice cream stand featuring farm-made ice cream and fresh cones. The beautiful rural setting combined with heavenly ice cream makes Buttonwood Farm a popular destination for the whole family. In season, the farm experience also includes hay rides for the kids, and a huge corn maze in autumn.
SUNFLOWERS FOR WISHES
At the suggestion of a friend, farm owners planted a single acre of sunflowers in 2003. Not sure what to do with the resulting crop, they decided to sell bouquets of sunflowers to their visitors, donating all proceeds directly to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Connecticut.
In 2016, Buttonwood Farm planted 14 acres of sunflowers, continuing the generous tradition of donating 100% of the proceeds to Make-a-Wish. So, this is a beautiful farm with a warm heart as well.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH
Be sure to check their homepage for the annual dates of the Buttonwood Farm Sunflower Festival. In most years, the sunflowers reach peak bloom around the last week in July.
The serene farm setting, large fields of vibrant sunflowers, and rustic stone walls offer the photographer a variety of compositions, both tight and wide.
The fields can be photographed at either sunrise or sunset, although the largest fields face northwest, making them best at sunset with a good sky (in my opinion).
The farm is located at 473 Shetucket Turnpike (Connecticut Route 165) in Griswold, Connecticut. A number of twists and turns are required to reach the farm, so set your GPS to the address and enjoy the ride through the magnificent Connecticut countryside.
Buttonwood Farm is located approximately 1h45m from Boston. There’s parking at the ice cream stand, although I prefer to park alongside Route 165, adjacent to the biggest sunflower fields.
If you come during the Buttonwood Farm Sunflower Festival, expect a crowd and traffic congestion (including buses). I always come on a weekday to avoid the masses. By sunset, most families have gone to dinner anyway, so only a handful of tourists and photographers remain to take in last light over the sublime scene.