YELLOW SPRINGS — The Whitehall Farm sunflower field has finally made its yearly debut.
The field, located at 4633 U.S. Route 68, was planted in the summer months. The Tecumseh Land Trust, which is housed at Whitehall Farm, posted on its Facebook page in May that it was “too cold and wet” to plant the seeds and to expect a September bloom this year. Heavy rainfall in May and June throughout the Miami Valley had an impact on local farmers.
Tecumseh Land Trust officials have expressed in the past that the field allows the organization to bring awareness to the land trust and its mission of preserving land for all of time. Dave and Sharon Neuhardt, who own Whitehall Farm, said in the past that they choose to plant the 11-acre sunflower field, made up of 300,000 to 400,000 individual blooms, year-after-year “just to make people smile.” It was first planted in 2003.
According to previous reports by this newspaper, the Neuhardts purchased Whitehall Farm in 1999 from a family who broke up 940 acres into 34 individual properties. With the help of the Tecumseh Land Trust, Clark and Greene Counties as well as Miami Township and Yellow Springs citizens, the property was purchased for $1.2 million six weeks before the auction was scheduled to take place so that the land could forever be preserved as it stands under the Tecumseh Land Trust.
A land trust works to put a conservation easement on natural properties that are filed with the county courthouse recorder, promising that the land will stay as natural as it is at the time of signing the easement with no development ever taking place on the property.
When the sunflowers begin to droop, local birds are given a meal, according to a past interview with Sharon Neuhardt.
Visiting the sunflower field
The Tecumseh Land Trust has expressed that it is unsafe to park along U.S. Route 68 to visit the sunflower field. Instead, land trust officials advise individual to park in the grassy pasture down the gravel lane leading up to the Tecumseh Land Trust offices. Individuals should also avoid parking along the gravel lane. The Tecumseh Land Trust posted on its Facebook page Aug. 29 that the farm lane is unable to accommodate commercial buses.