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Couple Runs Popular Dandelion Tea, Coffee Business
John and Irene Feddema raise 3 acres of dandelions in 5,000-sq. ft. plots. Though the yellow blossoms are lovely in the spring and summer, it’s all about the roots.
    “We mill the roots for coffee and also make a mild tea,” John Feddema says. Since starting Dandy Joe coffee in 2011, the couple has developed a following of customers who purchase their products at the local farmers market or have it shipped to them.
    “Dandelion coffee and tea has no caffeine and is alkaline to counteract the acids in other foods,” Feddema says. Those qualities attract customers, but some claim even more benefits for a variety of health conditions. “We hear such amazing stories of how their lives have improved so much.”
    Positive testimonials motivate the Feddemas throughout the labor-intensive steps of processing roots into beverages. To gain the most nutritional value from the dandelion, harvest begins after the first freeze. Feddema loosens the soil with a mini excavator so the roots from 4-year-old plants can be harvested. Part of the root remains so nature takes care of producing the next year’s crop, Feddema says.
    After knocking off most of the dirt, the roots are washed in a rotating drum. Roots are then broken apart and washed again. Then they are sliced and spread on racks. With furnace fans in the ceiling and a dehumidifier, the roots dry in about 3 days and can be stored until needed.
    Roasting is very low tech, Feddema says, using several used stoves with working ovens. With thin layers, it only takes about 45 min. at 350 F degrees. The roasted roots are run over a vibrating screen to shake off an outer layer that’s used for tea. The rest is milled finer to make coffee. Feddema created his own mill for grinding coffee from an electric lawn mower.
    Besides selling dandelion coffee and tea, the Feddemas blend it with Echinacea and rhodiola rosea that they also grow to create Triple Dandelion Tea, their most popular product. They also sell raw milled or sliced dandelion root.
    The profits aren’t huge, but the Feddemas find satisfaction in the work because of their customers’ responses.
    Since they are old enough to be retired, they would like to see younger entrepreneurs continue the business they have created on their farm near Camrose, Alberta.
    “It’s quite a unique venture,” Feddema says. He notes that they only ship product to customers in Canada. For more information, check them out on Facebook - Dandy Joe Roasted Dandelion Root Coffee & Teas.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John and Irene Feddema, Dandy Joe, 4221 55th St., Camrose, Alberta T4V 5J4 Canada (ph 780 385-5111; feddrite@gmail.com).

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2018 - Volume #42, Issue #2