Born from a rogue sunflower that voluntarily came to life in one of our old cut flower fields in 2007. We have been growing cut flowers since 2000, and we were always looking for new and different flowers to set ourselves apart from the competition. In 2008 we planted the 12 seeds that came from that multi-colored, double flowering sunflower in hopes of creating a new variety of sunflower to be used in our cut flower farm business. We have been amazed and delighted by all the crazy/beautiful flowers that have sprung forth from that one little flower all those years ago.
In 2020, after years of breeding trials and tribulations as well as successes, I finally had a flower for my cut flower aspirations, or so I thought. After meeting some new flower-growing friends via the internet, I had an epiphany, actually two.
First, my world revolved around cut flowers; I never knew about all the people that enjoy growing flowers in their gardens for the sheer joy of growing something lovely. Second, this little flower I had created by the grace of God was going to be able to help support our family's Christian Youth Summer Camp.
With the support from all the growers of lovely things that purchase our seeds, we will be able to use the proceeds to continue to breed even more lovely variations of these flowers for years to come and at the same time help fund our ministry grow our youth and young adults in their faith through our camp.
A little bit about our ministry.
In 2019 our family took a leap of faith and purchased a Christian youth summer camp(Crosswoods Adventure Camp), to prevent it from closing forever. As a family we had worked together to build a successful cutflower business. Now, as a family, we are passionate about working together to create an amazing summer camp. A place where youth can go and get stronger in their faith, in Gods beautiful creation in the north woods of Wisconsin.
I truly believe that when the good Lord put that rogue double flowering sunflower in an idled field all those years ago, it was to turn a page in my life. However, I didn’t know what was written on that page at the time.
When 2020 closed our camp down and we had no campers to help support its existence, I had an epiphany. Maybe that little flower could help, in some way, to keep our camp alive. It was then, I decided to start producing seed for sale to help fund what is now Sunflower Steve Seed Co.
Your purchase of my seeds will help in my efforts to create and bring new sunflowers to beautify the world and at the same time, help support our camp.
My passion for Falconry
When I was 10 years old(1975) I found a young hawk on the ground on my way home from grade school. I picked it up and took it home and that was the beginning of my love of birds of prey. When I was 15, I got my falconry license and that was the beginning of my passion for falconry. During College, I worked at The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. Over the years I have rehabilitated many raptors to be released back into the wild. I have given countless programs to groups and schools to educate people about these magnificent birds.
I have hunted quarry with raptors since I was 15 yrs old. When I first started flower farming, rabbits were doing damage to my flower fields. I was in a unique position to be able to use my skills as a falconer and a trained raptor to solve this problem. After only 2 years of hunting the birds on the farm, they had almost completely eradicated all of the rabbits. There are always a few new ones that straggle onto the farm. However, it usually doesn’t take too long before they are back in check once I turn the bird loose to do its thing.
We fly the birds off of the farm as well. This keeps them in good shape, as well as it lets them catch wild quarry for the freezer to be eaten later. Wild quarry is the best nutrition for them.
All of our daughters have been a part of our family businesses. They have also had an opportunity to be involved in my passion of Falconry. They have all helped me care for injured raptors and aided in the rehabilitation of birds to be released back into the wild. I am grateful that I have been able to share this artform with them. Each of the girls has had the opportunity to train a hawk alongside me. It is an unbelievable feeling to watch my young ladies work with the birds. To see their faces the first time the hawk lands on their fist is just magical, for them and for me. To see them confidently holding these magnificent raptors on their fist as we give an educational presentation, or when we are out in the field hunting, fills me with pride and gives them a life lesson like no other.
I am truly blessed that I have been able to share my love of raptors with the girls. Sharing my artform of Falconry with them is an experience I know they will look back on someday as a truly special time we had together.