The sunflower field owned by the Sidor family will not...

The sunflower field owned by the Sidor family will not reopen this season.  Credit: Randee Daddona

The sunflowers are taking a sabbatical this summer.

After four consecutive seasons of thousands and thousands of sunflowers blooming at the North Fork Sunflower Maze in Mattituck, the soil needs a rest, says Cheryl Sidor, owner/operator. “The bottom line is with farming, you really often want to take a break,” she says. “Sunflowers are famous for robbing the soil of a lot of nutrients. If they’re not within normal ranges, the flowers would all be mutated.”

The news is disappointing to fans of the 30-acres of flower fields, which since 2018 have bloomed from mid-July through September at Sidor Farms, which is co-owned by Sidor’s parents, Martin and Carol, and is also the home of North Fork Potato Chips. The field draws visitors who take Instagram-worthy photos and wander through the rows of bright yellow blooms that turn toward the sun. It also offers special events such as dance parties and children’s parties with baby animals and face painting.

“Oh no! This is our yearly tradition!” posted one fan on the North Fork Potato Chips Facebook page, where the farm announced it would not be operating the sunflower maze this season. “It would have been our last time going before we move out of state,” the post laments. Dozens of others expressed sadness.

But never fear, Sidor says. The break is just planned for one summer, and Sidor hopes to even expand in the future. “My long term — I want to have a sunflower field with a square cut out in the middle to hold weddings or events,” Sidor says.