Dandelions get their day in Carbondale
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado ” For years, people have taken to this little plant. They’ve been munching on its nutritious leaves, grinding its roots as a coffee substitute and cooking with its bright yellow flower. Yeah, it looks as though the dandelion is a global phenomenon.
Too bad in the States, all it gets is a couple hours of glory in Carbondale.
Sounds like all the more reason to do Dandelion Day up right.
John “Doc Dandelion” Philip couldn’t agree more. The 60-something, retired chiropractor was there at the event’s inception and years later, he’s still singing the plant’s praises.
“It’s the only vegetable on the whole planet that’s completely edible,” he said, starting to get revved up. “When the flower turns yellow, it has more concentrated vitamin A than any other vegetable.”
You can grate it, bake it, brew it, use it as an ointment.
“And it’s free from your backyard!” he said.
He came across this wealth of flowery knowledge about a decade ago. Back then, he and other members of the Carbondale Environmental Board had found out that their town had neglected to spray pesticides on Sopris Park. Unintentionally, the place had become organic, and the group fought to keep it that way. During that time, Philip decided to do some research on one of the park’s most conspicuous residents. He quickly found out that the dandelion wasn’t a weed at all, but a vegetable, one long-venerated. It was then that his board kicked into hyper-drive to save the dandelion. They lobbied for it to become Carbondale’s town flower ” and won.
Dandelion Day was quick to follow.
“It’s happy and healthy and we have fun with it,” he said.
He described the all-day event, which has a decidedly eco-friendly bent. About 20 or so vendors and non-profits will set up booths around the park. There will be a host of activities, from a composting contest, to road races, to a downtown parade. Starting around noon, live bands will play, and all the while, curious souls can partake of dandelion-laced goodies. Philip described the flower’s flavor as “buttered carrots,” while the leafy bits are like dark romaine lettuce.
“People either love it already or they find out about it and go nuts and can’t stop eating it,” he said.
Of all the things his “funky little mountain town,” is famous for, he thinks it’s partially the dandelion that has put it on the map. Every year, he meets people from Vail, Paonia and even farther flung. Ever since it began, he’s been getting phone calls from overseas, too. Foreign folks just can’t believe someone in America has finally discovered what the rest of the world already has.
“It’s just remarkable,” he said, impassioned. “Apparently the rest of the planet has used it for centuries.”
He then went on with his Dandelion 101 lesson. He spoke of brewing dandelion beer and made a rather convincing argument for the May Flower having been named after you-know-what. In short, at the end, there was simply no more dandelion questions to answer.
But in case you have some, be sure to chat Philip up this Saturday.
Just look for the guy in the giant dandelion suit.
Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111
Post Independent Glenwood Springs CO Colorado
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The Forest Service plans to replace the Carbondale Aspen-Sopris ranger district station with a newer, larger facility.