Bad Foraging

A couple of weeks ago we met up with some old friends for lunch and since we were converging from a number of locations we ended up driving cross-country to get there. En-route I noticed a couple of large patches of wild garlic (ransoms, ramps, broad-leaf garlic i.e. Allium ursinum) twinkling in the dappled sunlight.


This was the first time I’d seen any around Cambridgeshire, so made a mental note to return, if I could find the time, to do a spot of foraging. I particularly wanted to try some recipes that I’d seen last year from:

So a week later, when I was on my way to the supermarket (you’re getting the impression that I hate shopping I am sure), I took a slight detour to include the woods where I’d seen the wild garlic.


Finding a safe place to park was the first problem. Then it turned out that the first expanse of wild garlic that I’d seen was in fact a wooded extension to someone’s garden. So I drove on to the second patch and luckily there was a muddy, rutted space off road nearby. That should have warned me that I was not the first here. However, I got out and took some photos of the starry carpet.


Then I wove my way a little deeper along a bit of a trail to get some immersive views and that is when I saw the devastation cause by thoughtless, greedy people. A large area had been completely chopped to ground level and worse, several patches had just been dug right up.

Suddenly all the fun went out of the trip. I returned to the car empty handed. OK that is not quite true. I took a single leaf from a dense patch just to taste it.


So I have come home and ordered a batch of ransoms in the green from a company called Naturescape and I am going to plant my own patch around our little pond at the edge of the boggy bit. I hope they bulk up fast!

What did I do with the single leaf? I added it to some mushrooms that I fried for tea …. and it was delicious.


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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21 Responses to Bad Foraging

  1. Tina says:

    That’s a bummer when folks thoughtlessly trample wildflowers, or any plants. Your photos are certainly pretty though–so lush and full of life.

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    So many wild patches have been devastated over here, many plants no longer exist. No one shares the whereabouts of any patch they find in order to protect it. Sad, but true. Now it is medicinal mushrooms among other foraged plants. Fancy, big-city restaurants pay top dollar for wild food and the demand is only growing. Regulation is needed, but it would be tough to enforce. (sigh)

  3. lyart says:

    great idea to have them in your garden. I have some and it grows easily, seeding itself effortless. It’s about the first fresh herb every year to have with salads and fries.

  4. nexi says:

    Read that this is the same with wild mushroom foraging in the UK that has been made popular by TV chefs – sites have been decimated, and authorities are putting up signs banning picking.

    • Yes. It is depressing that the idea of balance is so hard to understand if we want to be able to continue foraging in the future. It would be a shame to outright ban any foraging (like Bristol City Council), especially since the worse offenders wouldn’t be stopped by this anyway.

  5. Chloris says:

    Being an allium it is very invasive. Once you have it, you can’ t ever get rid of it. There is a wood near me that has vast swathes of it. I have never tried eating it. Is it a very strong flavour?

    • Where I had in mind it would be mostly competing with ground elder! No, the taste was strong, it was like using fresh garlic leaves. I guess the leaves are fatter and look better braised than the traditional vegetable version.

  6. Kudos for your ethical behavior. Plant poachers can do a lot of damage. In the Appalachians some Trillium species are endangered by those who poach for profit, since the plants are very slow-growing and fetch high prices.

  7. Christina says:

    I hope that the patch will recover; well done for not joining in with the decimation. Foragers of the past would always have left enough to be sure of future pickings. We have lost that knowledge and are left treating nature as if it will continue to produce for ever more.

  8. inesephoto says:

    Great idea to grow Allium in the backyard. There are many farms growing and selling wild plants and seeds.

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