Just north of Route 48 on Wickham Avenue in Mattituck, an eye-catching crop of bright yellow and brown sunflowers stretches across about 25 acres of farmland, attracting more than just bees.
Thousands of people have flocked to the North Fork Potato Chips Sunflower Maze since it opened recently to appreciate the “happy” flowers, sprawled across fields in the wine country of the North Fork.
Sunflowers at the maze are at their peak bloom in August. Laden with heavy seeds, the flower petals sway in the summer breeze, turning to face the sun as they track it across the sky.
“Sunflowers are my favorite flower and let’s be honest, how can you resist a field with beautiful flowers?” Lori McBride, 32, of Cutchogue says while navigating the maze, which opened July 29. McBride said she went to the maze to support local agriculture and a local farming family. “The sunflower maze was cute and creative with their fun facts about sunflowers in general along the way, too.”
ABOUT THE FARM
The maze is run by the Sidor sisters, Cheryl and Maureen, fourth-generation farmers born and raised in Mattituck. Their family history has deep roots with Martin Sidor Farms, run by their parents Martin and Carol Sidor. At the farm, potatoes are grown and used for chips, and sunflower oil is also used in the chip-making process.
“We did sunflowers in the hopes that we can crop and harvest the oil out of the seeds for our potato chips and it’ll help build our family brand,” says Cheryl Sidor, 44, of Mattituck.
She says the sisters are opening another sunflower maze Friday at their homestead on Oregon Road in Mattituck. “That one will have equipment, tractors and trucks, old tools and a cutout of a sunflower to put your head in to take photos — it’s a little more kid-friendly,” she says.
The Sidor sisters put in lots of work to get the flowers to bloom this time around, Cheryl Sidor says.
After their sunflower maze failed to bloom well in 2012, they decided to bring it back to the North Fork this summer, with better results. “It’s about Mother Nature [and] she kind of really dictates the weather, which impacts our crops. We have to work around all of that,” Cheryl Sidor says.
The seeds were planted in late June and bloomed fairly quickly, she says. “Sunflowers have a very short life span — they are the happy flower but not a long-lasting flower,” she notes.
“It’s a throwback to the simpler times,” Maureen Sidor, 37, also of Mattituck, says while greeting visitors outside the maze through which they can meander at their leisure. “People usually stay especially around sunset — it’s absolutely stunning.”
North Fork Potato Chips Sunflower Maze
WHEN | WHERE 10:30 a.m. until dusk, check website for end date; 2010 Oregon Rd., Mattituck
INFO $5 entry; 631-298-8631, northforkchips.com