Sunflower maze brings ray of hope to blueberry farmer
Trueman's Blueberry Farm in Point de Bute diversifies to make up for low prices
About 250,000 sunflowers teeter in a field in Point de Bute, a bright yellow labyrinth inspired by low prices for wild blueberries.
Tom Trueman, who comes from a long line of farmers, saw the pricing problems coming for his blueberries and decided to diversify.
"We've been exploring ways on our farm to diversify to pick up some revenue from other sources."
This season, Trueman opened a blueberry and raspberry U-pick, built a farm stand to sell his products, and hired a company to help him plan the Canada 150-themed sunflower maze.
"I'm the eighth generation on the farm and I don't think any generation ever did whatever the previous ones did," Trueman said.
"You always have to be dynamic in your business and look for new opportunities."
To Trueman's knowledge this is the only sunflower maze in New Brunswick.
He hopes to leverage that into a tourist attraction. While the maze is not on a main road, not far away is the intersection where Highway 2 crosses Highway 16. It's the main route from New Brunswick through to Nova Scotia, and P.E.I.
"Summertime traffic is 10 to 15,000 cars a day travel within a kilometre of our operation, so we thought we could leverage that into something that would drive people in and give both locals and tourist traffic an opportunity to experience agricultural life in this part of the world."
Diana Blenkhorn brought her two granddaughters to try the maze on their last day of summer vacation.
"I thought it was fabulous," she said. "We need more things like this in Atlantic Canada."
Nine-year-old Elle Stubbert agreed with her grandmother and said the experience was fun.
"My favourite part is looking at all the pretty sunflowers and just going through the maze."
And that isn't as easy as it looks, Elle said.
Even Trueman admitted to getting lost while mowing the path through the maze.
"Every time I go through it — but I always find my way out so I guess that's the fun of the maze."