Sunflower Walk to benefit local family, Mental Health Association

Kadylack Farm hosting unique event east of Newry

NORTH PERTH – There’s nothing quite like a field of sunflowers to raise one’s spirits.

Steve Terpstra’s Kadylack Farm east of Newry has unquestionably succeeded in doing so since he and girlfriend Dianne De Jong cut the first path through their 22-acre field a week ago. Dotted with an estimated 660,000 sunflowers – give or take – the ‘Sunflower Walk’ has three primary objectives: to promote mental health awareness, to raise funds for the Canadian Mental Health Association, and also bring in proceeds for local woman, Heidi Schlumpf and her family.

Schlumpf, an Ethel-area mother of four, was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer in the spring of 2021, and is undergoing treatment-related surgery this weekend.

“She is a ray of sunshine to everyone,” said De Jong, explaining that Schlumpf grew up as Terpstra’s neighbour. “It’s for Heidi and for mental health, because sunflowers are all about being cheerful. 

“As you walk through, there are mental health messages. It really is just meant to be a great experience for everyone who goes through. Everyone that has went through really loves it.”

Pictured is Kadylack Farm east of Newry on Aug. 5 for the ‘Sunflower Walk.’ (Dan McNee Photo)

As of Aug. 5, approximately 300 people had paid a visit to the Kadylack Farm Sunflower Walk. Visitors have come from throughout the region (in two instances, from as far as Georgia and Lichtenstein) to take in the remarkable colour of the field and to just enjoy being in its calming presence.

“It’s beautiful and vibrant,” commented Palmerston’s Elizabeth Yungblut, who made the trip on Friday along with children Cora, 3, and Barrett, six months, to enjoy the scene and to have some family photos taken. “And it’s going towards a great cause.”

Saturday, Aug. 6 will see Terpstra and De Jong host a barbecue to further bolster fundraising numbers, while local couples are also encouraged to attend later in the evening for a date night. A $10 donation is requested for entry.

“I think it’s a pretty worthwhile cause,” commented Terpstra, who is in his second year of growing sunflowers. In 2021, his first 17-acre crop attracted so many visitors that he decided to formally open up the experience to the public. “We figured it just really suited the situation.”

Terpstra said the sunflowers are currently in their peak timeframe, and will begin to wilt likely by the end of next week. After which time, their seeds will be harvested to create birdseed.

“We are inviting people to come and enjoy,” said De Jong. “As people walk through, just take a pause and check in with how you’re doing. Mental health is near and dear to our hearts.”

For more information on the Kadylack Farm Sunflower Walk, visit its page on Facebook. The field is located at 5572 Perth Line 72 between Newry and Donegal.

A bee on a sunflower at Kadylack Farm east of Newry on Aug. 5 for the ‘Sunflower Walk.’ (Dan McNee Photo)