Monday, September 27

Eat this, not that: Wild garlic mustard vs. wild ramps

The unstoppable popularity of ramps (Allium tricoccum), also known as wild ramps or wild leeks, may just also be the death of them. The native North American wild onions are widely regarded as a spring delicacy and are one of the most sought-after wild edibles around.

Aromatic and slightly sweet, ramps are somewhere between an onion and garlic in taste. They are harvested by foragers, some of whom make quite good money selling the ramps at farmers markets or to private customers including upscale restaurants.

Increasing popularity combined with the scarcity of wild leeks have driven prices upward and sent more foragers hunting for them deeper and deeper into wild places.

The problem is that wild leek plants take years to reach maturity and reproduce. And since foragers harvest the entire plant, including the bulb and stem, the plant has no chance of ever growing back.

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