Sunny day

Sunflower Drive In

10344 Fair Oaks
Fair Oaks, CA 95628

(916) 967-4331

I just learned recently that the Central Valley is the source of most of the world’s sunflower seed production. Who knew? I had only noticed the glorious yellow fields of sunflowers along Interstate 80 this summer.

Ironically, this is the first summer I haven’t had sunflowers towering over my backyard. They usually grow prolifically, but this year’s freak weather has stunted them.

I know that the local birds love sunflower seeds, but they’re a nutrition powerhouse for people, too. While 1 ounce packs 22 percent of your daily fat, it’s unsaturated (good) fat—hello, omega-6’s! You also get 12 percent of your fiber goal and 7 percent of iron. For vegetarians and vegans, that’s an especially worthy source.

The legendary Sunflower Drive In (10344 Fair Oaks Boulevard) is not only named for the sunny blooms, it uses the seeds in its nut “meat” for the Nutburgers and Nutty Tacos. And, if you’re at a River Cats game this summer, look for packets of roasted sunflower seeds as a healthy snack to balance all that beer and fried food.