Back to that leek.
A friend and fellow locavore sent me this article, which made me question harvesting the wild leeks. Seems as though the increased popularity of wild-harvested foods like mushrooms, leeks and fiddleheads comes at a cost. And not just to your pocketbook at your local market. To our favorite lady, Mother Nature. Commercialization could easily lead to extinction the article posits. Ouch.
According to the article,
(All) this attention isn’t good news for the leek, says Gérald Le Gal, president of the Quebec-based Association for the Commercialization of Forest Mushrooms and owner of Gourmet Sauvage, a company that sells prepared wild fruits and vegetables.
He doesn’t think anyone should be selling ramps.
“Don’t touch the stuff. It’s just too vulnerable,” he says. When you pick a ramp, you take the entire plant, including the bulb. Once the bulb is gone, there is nothing left of the plant; it will not grow back the next year. The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority considers it to be “a species of conservation concern.” And eating a nice sized bulb could be the equivalent of dining on an old-growth cedar. “It’s a really, really, slow-growth plant. A bulb could be 18 to 20 years old,” Mr. Le Gal says.
Ouch. Now I’ve got a bad case of green guilt. You? Anyone know of a way to sustainably harvest the wild leeks, like the article briefly mentions? Perhaps if we just pick a couple handfuls for our own personal use and resist the temptation to bring a car load to the farmer’s market? What’s your opinion, dear readers?