Your Town Friday: Sheridan’s Stuckey Farm starts new tradition with first-ever sunflower festival

SHERIDAN, Ind. - When you hear Hamilton County, Carmel or Fishers might come to mind. But have you ever checked out Sheridan?

The Town of Sheridan covers two square miles in the northwest corner of the county about 30 miles northwest of downtown Indy where Highways 38 and 47 meet.

Today 3,000 people live there. Believe it or not, it used to be the second largest town in the county.

The origins of Sheridan are vague because the town lost all its records in a disastrous fire in 1913. No documentation supports the popular contention that Egbert Higbee started the town in 1860.

There's one place in town everyone knows, and this longtime favorite is trying to start a new tradition this year.

Stuckey Farm Orchard and Cider Mill is a working orchard in Sheridan with 27 apple varieties on 4,000 trees.

It opened in 1969, but current owner Jeff Pierce’s story starts 13 years ago, thanks to his two sons' school field trip. His early mornings in an orchard still kind of surprise the former salesman! He says it's been a learning curve.

"Oh yeah, it has!" said Jeff. "Very specific knowledge. I grew up in the country, but I did not grow up on a farm! Our boys would say, mom and mad, we went to Stuckey Farm today, and it was a lot of fun. My wife Shannon would then bring the boys in the fall to pick pumpkins and apples, and someone had mentioned to her that the farm was for sale."

On a whim, Jeff asked about it, but a deal was already in the works.

"But a couple months later he called! Part of the agreement we made with Mr. and Mrs. Stuckey is that they would stay with us for first two years."

And Jeff says he couldn't have done it without them.

Jeff and his family work hard to keep the farm fresh and relevant.

"Years ago when Mr. Stuckey first started this business, an outing to an apple orchard was just enough. That was enough entertainment, but things have changed a little with that."

To keep up, Jeff is launching a new experience this weekend. "Hopefully the first annual Sunflower Festival here at Stuckey Farm!"

They've been busy planting for weeks, packing in five solid acres of sunflowers.

"Who knew there were so many varieties of sunflowers? We’ve got about 18 different varieties planted out there. It kind of runs the spectrum of color from really deep burgundy colored sunflowers to the traditional yellow."

There are little, puffy ones called teddy bears and giant ones too! "And I didn’t believe it when we planted the seed, I thought oh yeah, they’re 12 feet, sure, but they are 12 feet tall!"

He's confident it's the perfect addition to compliment what Stuckey Farm already offers Hoosier families.

"They have always embraced Stuckey Farm. We certainly appreciate how they’ve favored our business over the years!"

The Sunflower Festival starts Saturday and runs through next weekend. You can even pick a sunflower and take it home! Stuckey Farm is open July to Thanksgiving. For details on everything offered at the farm, click here.