Nothing spoils a nice sunflower farm like hundreds of tourists stomping around your land and cozying up to your carefully tended sunflowers. That’s why the Bogle family, which operates a sunflower farm in Millgrove, Ontario, is closing to the public forever. Visitors seeking pictures for Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have overrun the farm this summer, causing the Bogle family to make its fateful decision: no more visitors.
On July 20, the Bogles opened the farm to photographers, charging $7.50 per adult. Thinking they might draw a few hundred visitors over the course of the summer, the family assumed it would provide a modest boost in revenue and a good supplement to the money made from farming sunflower, corn, millet, oats, and barley. They even hired eight staff members at $22 an hour and rented porta-potties to accommodate guests. Visitors came from all over the world, including Dubai and Australia, and at first, the gimmick seemed to be nothing but simple, harmless fun.
By Saturday, July 28, a few pictures had gone viral on Instagram, and that’s when the trouble started. Cars started arriving as early as 5:45 AM; the parking lot was filled to capacity; and the crowds were ignoring the farm staff, crossing into the field without paying. According to police, parents were crossing multiple lanes of traffic with strollers, and fender benders were a common occurrence.
Around 2:00 PM on the 28th, the Ontario Provincial Police asked the family to shut down the operation, and the road was soon closed to all traffic. “No Trespassing” signs were erected everywhere, and the Bogles decided to get out of the tourism game for good. On that fateful Saturday, police estimated about 7,000 cars had been shooed away from the area. The family said that some of its sunflowers were damaged due to people knocking them out of the ground; the actual damage to the crops will be determined come harvest season in the fall.
H/T: The Globe and Mail