As a wild-foraged, regional, and evanescently seasonal plant with an edgy “I dare you to like me” funkiness, ramps were perhaps inevitably destined to become a darling of the foodie set. Every spring, they burst onto the menus of trendy “locavore” eateries, crop up for as much as $20 per pound or more in Northeast corridor farmers’ markets, and proliferate across a multi-ethnic panorama of recipes: ramps risotto, ramps pesto, ramps dumplings, ramps kimchee, ramps pizza, ramps salsa, ramps aioli, ramps cocktails—and of course, eventually, someone had to go there and make ramps ice cream.
It is possible, though, to love too much; there is concern that overharvesting threatens the sustainability of these plants. Ramps are found in forests from Georgia north into Canada, but because it’s not easy to assess the status of a plant that grows mostly off the beaten track and only for a short season, it isn’t actually clear whether ramps are in decline across this region. Read the full story.