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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Picking Sunflowers at Strites' Orchard Farm Market in Harrisburg

Strites' Orchard Farm Market in Harrisburg Pennsylvania - Picking Sunflowers
The fall season is here and many of us are looking for outdoor activities to do with our families. Hayrides, visiting the pumpkin patch, running through corn mazes, sunflower picking, haunted houses, etc. Central Pennsylvania has a lot of family-friendly Autumn activities for you to enjoy.

Strites' Orchard Farm Market and Bakery in Harrisburg, Dauphin County has their sunflower patch open for business. There are several different patches located on the farm that you can choose from. We like the one located a few yards away from the corn maze. It seems to have the best sunflowers this year.
Strites' Orchard Farm Market in Harrisburg Pennsylvania - Picking Sunflowers

You'll follow the signs to the U-Pick area and park. Head to the canopy to pay your admission to either the corn maze or to the sunflower patch. If you forget to bring along pruning shears or snippers, they will lend you a pair to use. Each one that you pick will cost you $1.00.

Sunflower Picking and Drying Tips:

1. It's not about size! You want to look for flowers that still have their leaves attached. The larger ones droop quicker and shed their petals & leaves sooner. Go for small or medium sized flowers.

2. Avoid flowers that look diseased or have bugs all over them. Yes, you'll encounter a bug or two, but don't select blooms that are infested.

3. When you snip it off of the stalk you want to allow at least an 8" stem. Cut the stem at an angle and not straight across.
Strites' Orchard Farm Market in Harrisburg Pennsylvania - Picking Sunflowers

4. Carry your flowers by the stalk to pay for them and to your vehicle. You want to lay them down flat inside the trunk of your car with the face of the flower facing up. Lay in a single layer, not on top of one another.

5. As soon as you get home you want to inspect them closely. Pick off any bugs. Cut a 12" to 18" piece of twine or string. Tie it around the end of the stem/stalk with a small hanging loop. You need to hang them upside down for 3-4 weeks in a cool, dry and dark place to let them dry out.

6. Take a paper lunch bag and place it over the head of your flower. Secure it with string or with a rubber band. This bag will help to keep things dark, bug free and will catch any sunflower seeds as they dry and fall out of the head of your flower. Yes, you can clean and eat them later on!
Strites' Orchard Farm Market in Harrisburg Pennsylvania - Picking Sunflowers

7. Once your flowers are thoroughly dry you'll want to lightly spray them with a clear spray sealer to help preserve them. Take them outside and lay them flat. Spray with the sealer. Let dry for 1 hour, flip over and spray the other side. Once dry bring them indoors and use in your Autumn decorating projects.

When visiting the Sunflower Patch at Strites' Farm Market you need to plan ahead. Wear comfortable walking shoes, dress appropriately for the weather, bring your pruning shears or snippers, and make sure you bring along some bug spray! You'll be out in the field of a large farm!

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