Many of us drive up and down streets every day, but never take the time to discover what businesses may line a particular road. I have passed by Sunflower Farms many a time, yet I have never taken the time to stop and explore. What a mistake on my part. This past Monday I was greeted at Sunflower Farms by Russell Akiyama. Russell’s parents began the business in 1973. Russell is very passionate and that was evident in the knowledge he shared on the tour.
Sunflower Farms is not a traditional place to purchase shrubs, flowers, herbs or trees. It is so much more! The location is lined with beautiful trees. “My mother wanted to shy away from rows, therefore, we have different sections,” stated Russell. A large silk floss tree from South Africa caught my eye as did a 30 year old cherry bonsai. As Russell walked me through the various sections, I soon found myself so engaged.
As we entered the section in which herbs were growing, Russell quickly pulled three leaves from three different plants and said, “Here, taste these”. I did, and what an experience. Russell provided an explanation of the leaves I was eating and explained that he uses them daily.
One of the most fascinating parts of the visit was to see a papaya and a pomegranate tree that were both bearing fruit. The trees were beautiful. Russell picked a large pomegranate and opened it to provide a sample of the seeds. There are also Mulberry and Macadamia Nut trees onsite.
As Russell walked me through the various sections, I was intrigued to learn that Sunflower Farms is also a certified wildlife habitat. There are over a dozen bird and a dozen lizard species at the location. He explained that Sunflower Farms offers to their customers, expert advice in erosion control, drip irritation and drought tolerant planting. Russell stated, “The source for our pumpkins is a farmer from Camarillo. This year their crop was 30% less due to water. We must all conserve.”
Sunflower Farms is indeed a unique location. Not only do they offer an assortment of shrubs, flowers, herbs and trees, but they have a cute gift shop and sell firewood that they cure onsite. Thank you, Russell for an educational and fun tour and, thank you Sunflower Farms for being a member of the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce!
by Donna Duperron
Donna is the President & CEO of the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce. Do you have questions about or concerns for business in Torrance? Donna would like to know. Feel free to contact her at any time.