Fall into October at Sunflower Farm Stand

Sunflower Farm Stand celebrates autumn, hopes to bring community together with a pumpkin patch, sunflower maze, fresh fruit and low-cost outdoor activities

The pumpkin patch at the Sunflower Farm Stand is open daily and has a wide variety of pumpkins to choose from, all grown by farm stand owner Michael Strambi, Oct. 5, 2023. On weekends, customers can also join in on free hayrides. (Serena Bettis)
Serena Bettis
Published October 6, 2023  • 
11:00 am

SANGER – Locals and tourists alike can embrace autumn with a trip to the Sunflower Farm Stand, which is ripe with photo opportunities and fun for the whole family. 

The stand, which used to be known as the Centerville Fruit Station, is on the southwest corner of Reed Avenue and Highway 180 in Sanger, near the unincorporated community of Minkler. Owner and farmer Michael Strambi said he likes to use the stand as a way to connect people to where their food comes from, while also sharing the fruits of his family’s labor. 

“For me, personally, I’ve always loved this time of year as a farmer because you work all year growing the crops and it’s very satisfying (and) gratifying to see it come to an end,” Strambi said. 

When the stand opened in June, it was easy to spot from the road thanks to its 20-foot-tall sunflowers planted in a half-acre maze next to the shop. Now, a new maze of waist-high sunflowers greets customers behind a pyramid of pumpkins and an array of plums, nectarines, peaches, apples and more. 

Inside the boutique shop, visitors can find selections of jams and jellies, decorations, artwork, strawberries fresh from the coast and table grapes — which Strambi said he is especially proud of this year. 

Further back on the property is a pumpkin patch with a large variety to choose from, all grown by Strambi. Options include Cinderella pumpkins, heirloom pumpkins, white cannonballs and jack-o’-lanterns. The stand has seasonal flowers for sale as well. 

Strambi said that on weekends they offer free tractor hayrides, which has led him to seeing “a lot of people that just really enjoyed themselves” at the stand recently. They also have $10 horse-drawn wagon rides, although those rides may not be available the weekend of Oct. 7 and 8 because their horse, Blueberry, has an injured leg. 

However, while Blueberry may be out of commission, three goats on the property — named the “Dutch Bros” — can be pet and fed over their fenced area. 

The fun doesn’t stop there, either, as Strambi has been setting up yard games designed for little kids to play with and embrace the season. In addition to classics like cornhole, Strambi is setting up mini pumpkin bowling, where kids can roll small pumpkins into candy corn pins. 

The Sunflower Farms Stand off Highway 180 and Reed Avenue in Sanger offers many photo opportunities for locals and tourists to celebrate the fall harvest season, Oct. 5, 2023. (Serena Bettis)

From his account, Strambi is doing all of this to try to “get back to the basics” and create a space where people can take time to be in the moment and enjoy the company of one another. He added that “the whole mission here is to educate people about what we’ve got cooking.”

Strambi also said he doesn’t charge for people to come to the stand and walk through the maze and pumpkin patch or to take pictures, because he’s really just wanting to get people there and engaged with where their food comes from. 

“I’d like to see more kids see what’s going on,” Strambi said. “Our mission is to be able to show kids — and young adults — who don’t have a clue where their food comes from the process of what it takes (to farm).” 

Anyone is welcome to visit the stand for photo opportunities, and there are plenty of Instagram-worthy, picturesque setups throughout the property. 

Strambi is also working to put on a few events at the stand, including a jazz performance featuring his brother, Larry Strambi, and his band the Shades of Jazz. The show will take place in the middle of the sunflower field from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 14 and Oct. 20. Tickets cost $30 and include food and beverage.

As fall changes into winter, Strambi said his family hopes to keep the stand open and offer gift baskets and seasonal decorations, but those plans are not yet set in stone. 

The Sunflower Farm Stand is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day and is located at 18266 Kings Canyon Road (Highway 180) in Sanger.

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter