Recently, amidst the dull browns and greys at a local state park, I spotted a welcome sign of spring: patches of leafy green. And those greens were ramps, a type of wild leek. It’s so tempting to pick them, since they taste so good and they cost so much at the farmers market or Wegmans. But, there are reasons to reconsider.
Last May, local writer Clara MacCarald explained the dangers of over-harvesting at Ithaca.com: “Large patches of ramps look luxurious and inviting, but foragers beware—this abundance is deceiving. Harvesters can quickly decimate a patch that took years to establish. Ramps are slow-growing, slow-reproducing, and long-lived plants. ‘There are more people out there harvesting now,’ said Tammi Sweet, an herbalist and co-director of Heartstone Center for Earth Essentials. ‘I’ve seen people walking out of Treman with grocery bags full of them.’ Not only is this irresponsible, it’s also illegal. <Read the rest here>.
If you’re interested in learning more about wild edibles, consider taking a class with Primitive Pursuits or the Cornell Plantations to learn about responsible harvesting or cultivating a patch of your own.
Image credit: Savory pancakes with wild edibles. Photo by AF.