Ways to love your dandelion
Lets Talk Dandelions!
When we suggested to Toms dad we were going to be sowing hundreds of thousands of dandelions in the grazing pasture he thought we were absolutely crazy. It’s a totally understandable reaction! Even the word dandelion has been synonymous with the word weed for generations, ask anyone to name a few common weeds and guaranteed dandelions will crop up regularly.
But what is a weed anyway? For some, it’s just a plant in the wrong place. For others, it’s a an untapped resource! Both people and wildlife can benefit from these wildflowers. Foodies around the globe are re-visiting this humble plant and discovering that the leaves have more nutritional value than broccoli and spinach, containing Vitamin A,B,C and D as well as other key minerals like potassium, zinc and iron . Flowers can be made into vegan honey alternatives  and importantly for us here at the distillery, the roots can be roasted and used to impart spice to our liquids. Roasted dandelion root was a well known coffee alternative in the 18th and 19th century and gained popularity during rationing during the second world war.
Spice is very difficult to get from the British countryside, when we created our farmed and foraged gin, we discovered that toasted applewood and roasted dandelion root provided just the balance of spiced notes we needed. From foraging dandelions to growing at scale we now have dedicated growing space to these botanical wonders, which we harvest and roast at a local coffee roasters.
Dandelions are great for the soil for cycling nutrients, and are fantastic for bees! Where we say growing fresh not only tastes better but does better, this couldn’t be more true for the dandelion. Just 8 dandelions can support up to 15,000 bee foraging flights , so that’s 752 bee flights here at Falls Farm supported with every per bottle Warners Rum. Dandelions provide an important early season source of pollen and nectar, so as we turn a monoculture of grazing pasture here at the farm, we are adding to the diversity of food sources for our pollinators.
So next time you see a dandelion in someone’s lawn, don’t judge them for their gardening mishaps but celebrate these bright yellow rays of sunshine for what they can give to people and wildlife! What ways can you think of to love your dandelion?