The Sunny Side Of Life
Farm & Ranch Living|August/September 2017

Golden fields of sunflowers beckon visitors to this rural New Jersey farm.

Katie Donaldson Hackettstown, New Jersey
From the end of August throughout the middle of September, I swap my public relations and social media hats for three short, gorgeous, hot but fun-packed weeks of sunflowers. Aided by my loyal and spirited “farmily,” I treat guests at Donaldson Farms to stunning views, photo opportunities and fresh-air hayrides.

I never imagined I’d be sharing fascinating facts about sunflowers with so many visitors to the farm where my husband, Greg, grew up. I left the corporate world in 2008, and it’s still a treat to have beautiful farmland as an office view and to take my business trips via tractor and wagon.

People of all ages enjoy the farm while our sunflowers are at their most breathtaking. Kids love the Pollinator Safari Hunt that I run. And we offer sunset photography tours, sunflower pick-and-paint events, and competitive amateur and professional photo contests. Guests flock to these experiences.

I grew up in the shadow of New York City, where the closest thing to a tractor was a hand-pushed lawn mower. Hacketts town is an hour west of my hometown, yet the scenery is remarkably different.

This place has been in the family since 1906, when Lewis Donaldson traded the deed to his two-bedroom house in the township of West Orange, New Jersey, for what was then about 100 acres of farmland in Hacketts town. Lewis turned the land into a dairy farm.

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