MPP Jim McDonell dropped by the Fields of Gold official opening on Friday, July 23. Left to right are: MPP Jim McDonnell, Jakob and Stephanie Vogel. Morin Photo
MONKLAND – Stephanie and Jakob Vogel share a vision and a passion.
Fields of Gold is the result of an idea they both fell in love with as they looked for ways to keep their rural connection healthy and strong and at the same time secure a rural lifestyle.
On Fri., July 23 they officially welcomed visitors to their Fields of Gold.
The 20 acres of magnificent sunflowers on their farm and the numerous pathways through the more than a million plants make the Fields of Gold a literal sight to see.
Stephanie and Jakob are hoping their farm will become a destination for families, wedding parties and tourists looking for a unique way to spend a bright summer afternoon.
“The idea came to us last summer,” said Jakob. The couple had been renting out some of their land to a neighbouring producer but they missed being part of the farming community.
When the two married and then later purchased their 75-acre farm in Monkland they were not sure what their next move would be.
Jakob works off the farm as a dairy nutrition consultant. Stephanie is a teacher in Embrun.
The couple wanted to be able to stay on their rural property, but realized the size of the farm was not going to be large enough to sustain cash cropping which they both loved, yet farming was in their blood.
Stephanie said, “It has taken a lot of work getting this up and running but now we can start to enjoy the fruit of our labour.”
She explained getting everything ready has taken about ten months.
“We are super excited,” she said. She encourages a visit with the sunflowers as they give people a chance to unwind.
Covid brought many restrictions and changes for everyone, but the need for flexibility allowed the couple to spend more time working on their dream. Stephanie found herself teaching from home. Not having the driving time to and from Embrun to her school meant she could do a bit more at home on the farm.
They have ambitious plans for their Fields of Gold. Currently they are welcoming families and other couples who just want to see all of those sunflowers in full bloom, but they expect the future will include new attractions. Jakob said, ”We have had a few wedding parties ask to hold their weddings here, but we did not want to bite off more than we could chew so unfortunately we had to say no. Right now it is the ambiance and the feel and the opportunity for people to come out from the city to see something different.”
The sunflowers are the main attraction at Fields of Gold but Jakob and Stephanie had formed partnerships with others in the area to make their destination even more attractive.
A snack shack type business is expected to set up on their farm in the weeks to come and they have plans to invite distilleries and food producers to drop by and set up for visitors.
“The potential is absolutely endless,” said Jakob. He said farming has always been his passion and the Fields of Gold will keep him and Stephanie connected to a farming lifestyle.
They have found a way to enjoy the very best from the two worlds they inhabit.
The sunflowers planted in the Fields of Gold are Black Oil Sunflower. When the growing season has ended and it is time to harvest the plant, and the seeds from the flowers will be sold as bird seed.
To contact Jakob and Stephanie email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613-363-1235.
Joseph Morin is the Editor of the Eastern Ontario AgriNews, and the Record. He is, despite years of practice, determined to eventually play the guitar properly. He has served the Eastern Ontario community as a news editor, and journalist for the past 25 years with the Iroquois Chieftain, Kemptville Advance, West Carleton Review, and Ottawa Carleton Review in Manotick. He has never met a book he did not like.