Ramps or wild leeks, native of rich woodlands in the eastern US are becoming vulnerable to over harvesting, especially due to increased demand by the culinary trade. In 2011 it is estimated at least 2 million plants will be harvested.
You may see them offered for sale in specialty food stores, health food stores, farm stores, farmer’s markets, on the internet and on restaurant menus. Recommendations are not to purchase whole plants and bulbs.
In recent years:
Large Increase in media attention has brought unprecedented demand upon this plant especially in the culinary industry
Increase in commercial and individual harvesting activities
Increase in commercial and retail sales
Increase vulnerability to invasive plants
In some cases whole clumps wiped out
Reduced sustainability of the plant
Reduced ability of the plant to reproduce; long recovery time after harvesting
Increased susceptibility because of other conditions such as climate change and overgrazing
Harvest leaves only
Harvest not more than 20% of leaves from any single clump
Do not purchase whole plants from markets
Do not order dishes containing ramp bulbs
Encourage your restaurant or store to sell leaves only
Chefs and food purveyors
Cease buying whole plants and bulbs
Cease serving and selling whole plants and bulbs.
Use sustainably harvested leaves only
Cease all commercial harvesting of whole plants
Harvest leaves only, not more than 20% in any year
Keep track of where you have harvested and when
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