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Annual Ramp Hysteria Leads to Apocalyptic Overharvesting

See what your obsession with ramps has wrought: there are botanists who say wild leeks are being overharvested. There are concerns about the crop being able to replenish itself, since ramps take five to seven years to produce a seed, and another six to 18 months for that seed to germinate. Demand and relative scarcity have led to prices of up to $12 per pound in some areas.

And who do we have to thank for this? New York chefs: farmer Mike Kokas tells the New York Times that their "insatiable appetite for spring ramps" makes it difficult for farmers who rely on income from ramps to scale back operations. And although New York State doesn't regulate it, the sale of ramps has been banned in Quebec since 1995 and Great Smoky Mountains National Park has banned harvesting since 2002.

First we over-fish the oceans, then we over-pick the ramps. Why must we destroy everything that is good and tasty?

· When Digging for Ramps Goes Too Deep [NYT]
· All Ramps Coverage on Eater [-E-]
[Photo: Summer Tomato / Flickr]