Farmers do indeed grow dandelions! Though dandelions are often seen as a common weed present in so many yards throughout Eurasia, Australia, and North America, farmers view the dandelion as a unique crop that can be cultivated and sold. Farmers grow dandelions for a number of reasons, chief among them being that they are a versatile source of food, drink, and medicine, that they have a tremendous resiliency to the surrounding environment, and that they are an extremely profitable crop.
Can You Eat Dandelions?
Although often seen as a nuisance to many homeowners throughout the world, farmers and health-conscious individuals view dandelions with a wealth of potential. Farmers will use their cultivated dandelions for both personal consumption and commercial sale. By being able to cultivate them in a variety of ways, farmers can turn the often maligned dandelion into food, beverages, and even medicine.
Farmers grow dandelions to utilize them in a variety of dishes. The leaves of a dandelion are frequently used in salads, replacing spinach on most occasions, and the flowering crown can be eaten fresh or fried for a tasty snack. Additionally, the unopened bud can be added to a completed salad for a delicious crunch as a substitute for unhealthier options.
Every part of the dandelion can be made into a variety of beverages suited to fit just about anyone’s taste buds. The flowering bud can be mixed with sugar and a few other ingredients to create a sweet dandelion wine. The leaves of the dandelion can be brewed into a delicious dandelion tea! The roots of the dandelion, once ground and roasted, can be made into a brewable substitute for coffee!
Medicinal usage of dandelions dates back thousands of years and has a place within almost every culture. Currently, dandelion root is sold in various parts of the world as a registered diuretic by the local government. Tea brewed from the leaves of a dandelion is an amazing treatment for the kidney ailments, while tea brewed from the dandelion root is used to improve the function of both the gallbladder and the liver.
Are Dandelions Invincible?
A fact known to every individual who has ever tried to rid their yard of dandelions: dandelions are very stubborn. Farmers know this as well, and that’s why they love to grow them! Dandelions have the uncanny ability to adapt to varying degrees of sunlight, grow despite poor soil conditions, and withstand intense physical damage, which make them the perfect crop for any farmer.
It is no secret that dandelions prefer to be in direct sunlight if they are given the choice. However, truth be told, dandelions will grow in almost any degree of sunlight. This includes up to almost total shade. This unique feature makes the dandelion perfect for the farmer that may not have direct sunlight where they are looking to cultivate.
Appearing throughout every yard in your memory, dandelions have the ability to grow so rapidly and so wildly because the condition of the soil does not matter. Unlike other plants, the dandelion is not affected by the adequacy of the water drainage in the field, whether the soil is fertile to other species of crops, or whether or not the soil is even moist! Being a drought tolerant plant to a degree, the dandelion can continue to thrive where other crops fail. That’s why farmers choose the dandelion over and over again to be their cash crop!
Everyone has mowed their yard before to rid themselves of dandelions just to discover that they are back, and more plentiful, within a matter of days. Dandelions can grow their roots up to fifteen feet deep in the soil, making their demise highly unlikely whether by damage from a lawnmower, storm, or other disaster. Additionally, dandelions are perennials, meaning that even if the tops die at the end of the season, the crop will re-grow next year ready to be harvested.
What Makes Dandelions So Profitable?
So many people mistakenly believe that dandelions are just weeds. As we can see, there are countless uses for the dandelion that prove its capabilities beyond just a backyard nuisance. In fact, dandelions can be an incredibly profitable crop for many farmers. But just why do dandelions yield such a high reward? The plant’s flexibility, beauty, and environmental impact all contribute to the high demand and high price of dandelions.
As we’ve previously touched on, dandelions can be used in a variety of ways for food, drinks, and medicine. In fact, dandelions are often utilized in expensive ways. The roots are often dried and sold, advertised as a coffee substitute without caffeine. Dandelion roots in this form can often sell for upwards of $30 per pound!
Children often don’t realize that the dandelions in their yard are undesirable, and that’s because they’re truly beautiful to look at. These days, it’s common to find dandelion bouquets as a dinnertime centerpiece or even for decorations at a wedding. The bright yellow and vibrant green of the dandelion lends itself well to brightening any occasion.
Dandelions actually play a large part in the health of our planet. They are an excellent source of pollen and nectar for insects, and the seeds and leaves are popular snacks for creatures like squirrels and birds. Dandelions also increase biodiversity and protect the soil they are grown in. Researchers are even attempting to create a natural rubber dandelion that would ease the impact of man-made rubbers and give farmers an incentive to cultivate this incredible crop.
Dandelions are a wonderful crop to consider growing. Not only can they be consumed as food, drinks, and medicines, but they also exhibit a stunning flexibility, beauty, and positive environmental impact. If you are considering growing dandelions yourself, keep in mind that this plant is amazingly resilient to sunlight, soil conditions, and physical damage. In no time at all, you could find yourself with a field full of gorgeous (and profitable!) dandelions.