Harvesting Wild Ramps on the Farm – Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Student Post By Josh
Wild ramps are one of many natural delicacies that exist here in upstate New York. Their species name is Allium tricoccum and they are in the same family as onions, garlic, and leeks. They usually have two or three leaves and a white stalk that goes only an inch or so into the ground. Their root system is not very extensive and they can be harvested quite easily with a shovel or a knife.
There are a few different ways to harvest wild ramps. One is to uproot the whole patch and replant some back scattered about. The other is to cut down at the base of the white stalk or “bulb” as you might call it (though it is not technically a bulb) just under the ground. It is important to harvest ramps in a way that is responsible and thoughtful because the plants are very easily overharvested. It takes a very long time for them to regenerate themselves. Usually it takes about six years to totally repopulate a patch that you harvest from. A common rule of thumb for harvest is to not take more than 10% of the ramps that are growing in an area in a given year.