Farm Brightens Peoples’ Day During Tough Times

By Josh Kappler | October 14, 2021


Like many businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, Thompson Strawberry Farm was forced to adapt to a changing social climate across the country. With their farm located outside of Bristol, WI, Scott Thompson, and his family had a feeling people needed some joy during this time.

“When the pandemic hit, we’re like, people are going to be looking for some happiness,” Thompson said.

That is when Scott’s wife came up with a bright idea. How about they give people something to do, that is both outdoors and allows for social distancing.

“Let’s give them that, you know that extra activity and let’s do the sunflowers,” said Thompson. “I bought 2.2 million seeds and I don’t have any left. I mean, we just kept going and we’re like that’s not enough. Keep going, keep going!”

Thousands of people from across Illinois and Wisconsin, some driving hours, came to Thompson’s farm to see the sunflowers. The biggest field measured at around 7 acres and had close to 700,000 sunflowers spread throughout.

“You’re just engulfed by the field,” said Thompson. “And I think that’s really neat, that people could just come in here and just kind of just get lost inside the field.”

It was a chance for visitors to forget some of their worries. The response from people surprised Thompson.

“I thought it would be kind of cool to plant some,” Thompson said. “I didn’t realize that everybody loves sunflowers. I had no idea, and now we have some notoriety I’ve been getting fan mail from all across the U.S.”

People spent hours taking pictures and exploring the fields. The sight of people smiling and enjoying themselves brought just as much joy to Thompson and his family as it did to his customers.

“I didn’t realize that it would make me feel good,” Thompson said. “You know at the end of the day, this year has been a tough year for us as well. But bringing that joy to people and seeing people so happy, just makes it all worthwhile.”

Josh Kappler

Josh Kappler

Josh Kappler is a videographer and editor for “Wisconsin Life” and enjoys sharing stories about the people and places of the Midwest.

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