We’ve only been in Connecticut for a few short weeks, but we’re learning very quickly that the region is home to dozens and dozens of family farms. This last weekend we stumbled upon Buttonwood Farm in Griswold (yes, like Clark Griswold – no relation). The family farm is known for its farm-fresh ice cream and sunflowers for a cause.
Driving up on highway 201, the farm greets you instantly with a warm, yellow glow. Locals plow off the road in droves, in a makeshift dirt parking lot. We followed suit and crossed the highway, surrounded by sunflowers on either end. As we followed the walking path, we were welcomed by a “cow train,” a farmer driving his tractor and pulling children sitting inside barrels painted like cows. Where were we?
For one week every July, the Buttonwood Farm hosts “Sunflowers for Wishes,” when 100% of their proceeds benefit Make a Wish Foundation Connecticut. The farm plants over 14 acres of sunflowers and harvests 300,000 blooms. A bouquet of sunflowers costs only $10, and as a sign will remind you “every flower here is perfect in the eyes of a Wish Kid.”
Buttonwood Farms began as a dairy farm in the 1970’s, and has since begun raising and marketing dairy and beef cattle. About 20 years ago the family began experimenting with ice cream and today they make small batch ice cream, as well as hand-made waffle cones and whipped cream. They offer more than 50 varieties, from original to more adventurous, like lavender honey. And for how long the line was, we can only imagine how good it is.
When you visit Buttonwood Farms, it really does feel magical. The acres of sunflowers resembles a Wizard-of-Oz-like fantasy. But the irony is that the magic of Buttonwood Farms is very real, with the heart and soul that is in every flower grown and purchased.
Buttonwood, we’ll be back!