Sunflower Fields for Biofuel in Raleigh

 Secondary sunflower blooms in late July at Dorthea Dix Park in Raleigh NC

At Dorthea Dix Park in Raleigh, they turned a vacant lot into a field of gorgeous sunflowers. It was a pretty spot to shoot family photos and a nice green place to visit in the middle of this hot southern city.  But it was more than that.

 Sunflower blooms against a gorgeous NC July sky in Dorthea Dix park.

By the time we visited, the big headed sunflowers are past their prime but lots of secondary blooms were having their day in the sun.

As we cruised the lanes looking for those last few buds we overheard a gentleman share that the city is getting ready to harvest the field of sunflowers to use as bio-fuel in their vehicle fleet. He shared that 1 acre of harvested sunflowers will yield 75 gallons of biofuel. Read more about Sunflowers as a biodiesel source here.

What a great second life for these beautiful blooms!

They were also the backdrop for the July SunFest which featured live music, games, and food vendors. This event was free to the public and there was no charge for parking. And it's on my "must visit" bucket list for next summer.

Dorothea Dix Park, a 308-acre property acquired by the City of Raleigh in 2015, is the largest city park in the City of Oaks. The site blends historic architecture and rich landscapes on the edge of downtown Raleigh (the closest park entrance is about one mile from the Raleigh Convention Center). Named for Dorothea Lynde Dix, an American activist on behalf of people with mental illness, the site spent 150 years as Dorothea Dix Hospital and more recently has been home to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

In the future, the City of Raleigh has big plans for a transformative public space—for now though, massive open fields, tree-lined streets, skyline views and very minimal car traffic make this park an ideal place for all sorts of outdoor activities. [Source: Visit Raleigh Website]

But sourcing biofuel locally for our city's vehicle fleet sure is a great start!

 Bees are everywhere but busy with sunflower pollen they aren't bothering the passerbys.

Bees are everywhere but busy with sunflower pollen they aren't bothering the passerbys.

 The bigger sunflower heads have passed their peak but smaller buds are still forming.

The bigger sunflower heads have passed their peak but smaller buds are still forming.

 Clusters of smaller sunflower blooms formed bright spots throughout the field.

Clusters of smaller sunflower blooms formed bright spots throughout the field.