Letter writer: Leave ramp roots intact when harvesting

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I write today with concern in my heart. As spring rises, we begin to see the awakened harvest of our beloved local allium: ramps. With it comes a reminder that not all ramps are harvested equally. We must use our discernment and inquiry to more deeply understand the ramp trade and our role within it.

Some ramps come out of the woods, roots and all. This unnecessary and unsustainable practice kills the perennial herb, quickly depleting the forests of these magical green ephemerals of spring. Restaurants and foragers who use ramps harvested with their roots need to not only be boycotted, but also educated.

Sustainable ramp harvesting leaves an intact root and enough white root flesh for the plant to recover and continue growth. It is time for us to call to accountability the restaurants and market foragers who strip-mine the forests. Know your ramps, ask questions and let us work together to engage in dialogue at a broader level in the beautiful mountain home that holds us.

— Macon Verteskjall
Whole Tree Permaculture

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