Sign up for our Newsletter

Ira Haspel, owner of KK’s The Farm, is excited to welcome the community to his farm to share the values of the dandelion (Photo Credit: Lilly Parnell)

The annual Dandelion Festival is back with a mix of education, music and fun for the whole family. Join KK’s The Farm this Sunday, April 30, to learn about and celebrate the ever-important and often overlooked “golden flower of the farm.”  

“[We] want people to become aware of the benefits of the dandelion leaf, flower and root,” reads the festival’s mission statement. “Dandelions are the symbol of spring and early food for the bees and other pollinators. Therefore, let us stop spraying harmful chemicals on them, the earth and all living beings. This will help in the reduction of toxic chemicals entering our soil, aquifer, estuaries and bays.”

This year, the festival will offer an array of activities including face painting, flower crown making, musical performances in the pasture, a farm tour and a labyrinth. Throughout the day, there will be many educational lectures for children and adults alike, such as Turtleback Farm’s wildlife education for kids and an introduction to biodynamic farming by The Child’s Garden, a forest and farm program for preschool-aged children based in Southold. 

Plenty of local educational groups and vendors will be on hand as well, including North Fork Audubon Society, Group for the East End, Mattituck Mushrooms, North Fork Roasting Co. and many more. 

“Our farm’s mission with this festival is to demonstrate that high quality food can be grown using biodynamic and organic methods without any harmful chemicals,” said owner Ira Haspel. KK’s The Farm is one of the only farms on the North Fork that practice biodynamic farming. 

Biodynamic agriculture is a method of farming in which holistic methods are used to create a self-sustaining system. Haspel tracks the moon, sun and stars to plant his crops. Bio meaning life and dynamic meaning force, KK’s The Farm tends the soil with the notion that the microbes and insects on the plants and in the soil are beneficial, therefore they do not kill them. 

“We try to work with nature, not against her,” Haspel said. “Our soil is dark and healthy, which means it’s full of nutrients that are constantly being naturally replenished every season.”

The festival began in 2017, when Sonomi Obinata, a former employee and current lecturer for the festival, joined Haspel for a lecture series about biodynamic farming at the Pfeiffer Center in upstate New York.

“That year’s lecture was about the benefits of the dandelion,” Haspel said. “Sonomi made the commitment to honor the dandelion and to create a festival around it in order to share their many benefits with our own community.”

The Dandelion Festival began in 2017 as a way to share the many benefits of the dandelion. (Credit: Lilly Parnell)

This is the first festival KK’s has hosted since before the pandemic and Haspel is excited to open his farm to the public once more to show people that the dandelion is much more than a weed. 

“After the winter, dandelions bring nutrients and minerals, such as calcium, from deep in the earth up to the topsoil,” he said. “Everyone wants to kill their dandelions and rip them out from their yard. We are living on a single source aquifer for our water, so anything you put in the ground goes into our drinking water, our bays and our creeks, which harms us as well as our wildlife. We want to educate people not to spray harmful chemicals to get rid of them.” 

The 2023 Dandelion Festival begins at noon and runs until 6 p.m., concluding with a drumming circle and fire pit led by Obinata and Sarah Shepherd, another educator from Shelter Island. All ages are welcome at the free festival. KK’s The Farm is located at 59945 Main Road in Southold.