Sunflowers Are Prettily Peaking at Tanaka Farms

One of autumn's showiest stars is having its moment in Irvine. Different for 2020? You'll view the blooms from your car or a wagon ride.

Atit Phetmuangtong/EyeEm

What to Know

  • 5380 3/4 University Dr. in Irvine
  • Sunflowers may be viewed by driving by (on the weekend) or from a wagon ride (on weekdays)
  • The Drive-Thru Pumpkin Patch is open through Oct. 31

Scarecrows are popping up in front yards across Southern California, or at least decorations based on traditional scarecrows, the figures famous for guarding fields full of growing goodies that tempt nibbling birds.

And if you see a scarecrow in your neighbor's yard, chances are solid that the cute fellow will be sporting a particular blossom on his hat or overalls: The sunflower, which is as famous to fall as pumpkins, hay barrels, and scarecrows.

Where, though, can you go to see a field of fully open, bright, and spectacular sunflowers, the sort of sight you might find dazzlingly depicted on a calendar or greeting card?

If you're around Irvine in October, the answer is very much Tanaka Farms, the historic destination known for its succulent strawberries, excellent leafy greens, and, in 2020, a Drive-Thru Pumpkin Patch, too.

It is also known for its spread of sunflowers, those big-headed, sky-reaching blooms that can turn out thousands of seeds in one go.

They're blooming again at the breezy property, with the 2020 peak just beginning as we reach the middle of October.

There's a rather notable asterisk this year, if you were hoping to snap some up-close photos, and it is this: Walking among the sunflowers is cancelled in 2020.

"Currently, the only way to see them is from your vehicle (weekends) or from a wagon ride (weekdays)," the farm staff shared on Instagram.

Still, these giants can grow up to 15 feet in height, so they'll still make a stunning sight even when viewed from the inside of a vehicle.

Also good to know before you go?

For now, the sunflowers will remain "decorative," so you won't find them for sale at the Drive-Thru Produce Stand, which is full of other yummy, grown-right-there foodstuffs like Japanese turnips and bok choy.

"Depending on how the crop does, we may harvest and sell the sunflower heads at the stand in November so folks can make their own sunflower seeds at home," shared farm representative Joni Newman.

So go wow over the flowers now, in all of their yellow-heads-against-blue-sky glory, then return in November for the possible chance to buy a head or two for seeds (you'll want to check with the farm, though, to see if this is happening for sure).

Haven't made your Drive-Thru Pumpkin Patch reservation yet? Halloween is on approach, so do secure your spot soon.

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