For Rachael Voaden - founder of The Edible Flower Shop - choosing beautiful flowers that were also edible became a lifestyle necessity. The idyllic thatched cottage in rural mid-Devon that she still resides in today - along with her husband and two young boys – has everything one aspires to owning in the countryside. That is, except a large garden.
For someone like Rachael, clearly passionate about self-sufficiency and cultivation, she was not going to allow limited exterior space to become an obstruction, in fact the very opposite. What started as a personal solution then grew in to an online shop success story. With national and global interest and a flurry of regular customers, The Edible Flower Shop has fast become a sustainable and flourishing internet business.
"I want everyone to know how great edible flowers are, and to look at their gardens differently, particularly if they have restricted space," explains Rachael. "Besides providing the right seeds to plant, I supply growing guides for each flower and recipe suggestions post harvest. Any sized growing space is ideal for my products. They suit window boxes, courtyard gardens, roof terraces, allotments, even large country estates."
Edible flowers can create a stunning and colourful backdrop for any exterior. But whilst looking good, they also taste great. Delicious floral salads, cake decoration, home-made food colouring, quirky ice-cubes, calming tea and scented sugars are just some of the recipes that can be made from the flowers. And it's all become possible thanks to Rachael's creative and resourceful idea.
Currently selling 54 varieties, The Edible Flower Shop aims to bring its products to the everyday person. "There is a misconception that edible flowers only suit Michelin-star type cooking or Foraging Restaurants. What is actually true is that everyone with access to outside areas has the potential to grow and eat them," says Rachael. "I have also given a lot of thought about how I can help the bees, so I decided to highlight all the flowers on the RHS Perfect for Pollinators list."
Rachael concludes: "Flowers have been eaten for centuries, but fell out of favour in recent decades, so living in a society where growing space comes at a premium, isn't it time we made the most of what we've got?"
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