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Dandies’ time to shine

They’re yellow, tenacious and the bane of every weekend warrior.

They’re yellow, tenacious and the bane of every weekend warrior.

Dandelions are far from beloved and Pat Brennan doesn’t know why.

“Personally, I just can’t understand why there is so much animosity towards dandelions. People want to poison them and say, ‘Look at all those dandelions, I’ve got to get them out of my lawn,’” she said.

“They’re pretty. What’s not to like?”

There is a small but determined group of dandelion lovers in this city, including Brennan, and this week they’re celebrating what they call the “anarchist of the plant world.”

The Dandelion Festival kicked off on Sunday with a pancake brunch featuring dandelion flower syrup. Events are ongoing all week with a big celebration on Saturday. There will be a potluck of dandelion-inspired dishes, information tables, games, music and an open mic at the George Dixon Centre.

“I think everybody’s grandmother ate them in the springtime,” Brennan said. “It’s an old herb they used for hundreds of years in Europe. It seemed just like us to turn our backs on something that was so good.”

Dandelions are cholesterol and fat free, low in sodium, and a good source of fibre, said clinical dietician Anna Leiper.

“The only caution is that if anyone has any heart, kidney or liver issues, they need to talk to a dietician before they incorporate it because it’s very high in vitamin A and K,” she said.

Dandelions used to be widely used and they’re experiencing a comeback.

“If you’re looking for a new way to add in a locally grown option — like backyard local — it’s a great option for you.”

And there’s bound to be even larger crops of the yellow dandies in the coming years. A recently announced provincewide pesticide ban will take effect next spring.

Festival events

• Today: Weed Walk at 6 p.m., starting at the George Dixon Centre horseshoe courts at 2501 Gottingen St.

• Tomorrow: Fermentation workshop at the Grainery, 2385 Agricola St.

• Saturday: Dandelion Festival Celebration 3:30-8 p.m. at the George Dixon Centre.

 
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