The craze for wild, "foraged" food ingredients like ramps is getting out of hand, says Splendid Wine Snob. It's "quite frankly disrespectful to those who own land and find others 'foraging' on it. Particularly when those 'foragers' have no concept on how to harvest sustainably. People need to understand that wild 'foraged' plants need to be treated with more care and concern than mass grown supermarket vegetables. Cooks that think they're superstars by using novel ingredients thereby destroying wild native plants in the process need a wake up call."
"If the bulk of foraging is left to people foraging for themselves/families, this wouldn't be a problem," says aser. "Inherently, our appetite threshold limits how much we want to forage for ourselves. The bulk of the pillaging is done by restaurateurs and resellers since their customers have a far more demanding appetite than a family of 4."
"My feeling is that the term 'foraging' provides a green shield," says aser. "It gives an air of authenticity to the restaurant, that they're really connected to their food source. People must think, there's no way a lone forager can rape the land to a barren state. A forager equates to catchphrases like green, sustainability, artisanal. ... It equates to low food cost to restaurateurs, with an added marketing angle."
"Frankly, I'd say the best thing, if you're really concerned, is to pass on ramps," says Kagemusha. "Talk is cheap and any seller can tell you whatever you want to hear. Like there's more than one place these things come from? The downside to 'foraged' ramps is just too big."
Discuss: Foraging for ramps