The second annual dandelion festival comes at a time when dandelions are popping. The KK Farm in Southold elevated the lowly dandelion to adoration level. Booths, lectures, music, and signs, and lots of yellow were on hand. The 8 acre farm is only a few miles from Orient Point, a 90 minute drive for me from Babylon.
The farm is 100 years old and 8 acres, not what I’d call agribusiness. It is enclosed by deer fencing and grows on raised beds. Huge piles of leaves in various states of decomposition lay on the eastern edge. The barn is the centerpiece structure surrounded by a scattering of outbuildings. One outbuilding held large equipment, another small. There are greenhouses, a farm house, and a processing building. I found a charming “office” with small wood burning stove attached to a greenhouse. The farm has character and a small world feel. This is the second festival. I was invited by Suzanne Ruggles, who calls herself The Barefoot Gardiner.
I arrived early to set up my booth – dandelion flipping Olympics.
Informative signs were placed near the barn. Two signs had the following words: “Plants (like dandelions) that you need for your physical, emotional, and spiritual healing to gravitate to you”
“ leaves are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A B C and D, potassium, iron, calcium, and phosphorous. They are an exceptional spring tonic.”
At one booth, a woman served samples of dandelion juice. “First I roasted the taproot, blended it with water, let leaves soak then filter. Here, try some.” It tasted like dandelions! I had my “spring tonic” in a small paper cup…wonderful!
Children were plentiful, in fact the festival was intergenerational and full of energy. Kids played with hula hoops, dipped dandelion heads into paint and onto paper, and bounced around free to investigate on their own.
I hosted the dandelion flipping booth. I had a sign DANDELION FLIPPING OLYMPICS, set out a flipping court, and had little flags to mark were flipped dandelions landed. I didn’t promote my event and chose a poor location out of the mainstream. Nevertheless, four women came by to ask “What is dandelion flipping all about”. I asked them to find a dandelion, and demonstrated to move. All four women flipped. The farthest flipper was invited back for the “finals.” While I had no other interested parties, I did have three wonderful adults who came by and sat down for conversation.
I attended three of the six lectures in the old post and beam barn. Susan Ruggles gave a power point presentation of gardening with native wild flowers as a substitute for maintaining a lawn. Her Westhampton home is a certified wildlife habitat. She loves what she does. I called her an “apostle of the plants she loves.” She brought a display of photographs of many of the plants she uses. She helps people change their lawns into flower meadows.
Louise Harrison was there representing the SAVE PLUM ISLAND organization. Two booths featured native bees and their conservation. The seed-saving group promoted saving heritage and heirloom seeds native to Long Island including the Cheese Pumpkin
One of the most unusual displays were quail eggs. This couple raises quails and harvests their eggs for sale. I sketched and egg and breast feather.
I liked the whole affair because it wasn’t high tech and crowded. Here. Practically on the tip of the north fork, I found a great many of people whom I’d label out of the box. This experience was refreshing. I’ll be back with a bigger and better dandelion flipping event next year.