This photo shows a basketful of ramps purchased by Tom Brauer of Norwich, New York, that sparked a controversy on the Facebook page The New York Times Cooking Community over the way the coveted wild spring onions were harvested. The New York Times has announced it was disentangling its name from the page after numerous dramas spanning politics, race and unruly debate. (Tom Brauer via AP)

Rowdy Facebook food page erupts over harvesting of ramps

Rowdy Facebook food page erupts over harvesting of ramps

NEW YORK — A popular, food-focused Facebook page bearing the name of The New York Times erupted in unruly debate again Wednesday over unsustainable harvesting of a basketful of coveted ramps purchased by an artist in upstate New York.

Tom Brauer of Norwich, New York, was no worse for the pummeling.

He had posted a photo and a question to The New York Times Cooking Community page, which has more than 83,000 members, asking how he should prepare the 15 or so ramps he bought for $10 from a forager who had a van full of the wild spring onions, which grow for just a month.

The photo, showing bulbs and roots attached, prompted a member of the private group to decry the way they were pulled. Pulling the entire plant means it can’t grow again next season. Detractors soon piled on the critic, questioning her judgy tone, while others noted the harvesting practice threatens to endanger the beloved cooking ingredient.

Commenters wrongly assumed Brauer had foraged the ramps himself.

“It’s funny because I used to be on that page a lot but it got really aggressive so I kind of went off,” he said. “The whole thing was kind of annoying and obnoxious, but I do appreciate the info to be honest. I think I’m going to take the roots and plant them in my garden. The delivery was a little harsh, but what are you going to do?”

Brauer, 42, said he had no idea it was frowned on to take the bulbs and roots, and feels bad about it. He bought them from the forager while the two were at a friend’s house Monday.

So what’s he going to do with the ramps?

“I’m going to do a splayed chicken with caramelized ramps,” said Brauer, a painter who works in his family’s appliance store. “My cousin and his family are coming up for the weekend and I always cook them chicken.”

As for the lively recipe page, the newspaper announced last month it plans to remove its branding once it appoints volunteer moderators to take over. The paper cited the time it takes to staff and moderate the group, which has seen numerous controversies and debates spanning politics, race and privilege.

“One thing is clear: The interest in this group is about much more than recipes or The New York Times,” the announcement said.

The group was started in 2019 and grew quickly, with drama over how to discuss the cultural aspects of food, such as the use of MSG. For years, the food additive was branded as an unhealthy processed ingredient mainly found in Chinese food, despite a lack of supporting scientific evidence. The group erupted over anti-Asian sentiment.

Last October, members staged a revolt with food styled to say “vote” amid posts for particular candidates.

Brauer’s chief critic, who derided him for pulling ramp roots, later toned down her response Wednesday, saying: “Y’all are a trip!”

Leanne Italie, The Associated Press

Food

Just Posted

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Johanna Hannaford: Central Alberta designer offers inclusive clothing

By Stephanie Rhodes Local designer Johanna Hannaford’s inclusive clothing creations are smashing… Continue reading

Red life-ring with splash
Started from the bottom: How a family business started and grew in central Alberta

By Carina Moran We started our business in the basement of our… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec premier argues province has power to amend constitution in letter to Trudeau

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault has written a letter to Prime… Continue reading

A demonstrator stands in front of riot police officers during a banned protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Saturday, May, 15, 2021. Marches in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being held Saturday in a dozen French cities, but the focus was on Paris where riot police countered organizers who said they would defy a ban on the protest, ordered on the grounds that it risked turning violent. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Police fire tear gas on banned Palestinian march in Paris

PARIS (AP) — French riot police fired tear gas and used water… Continue reading

Photo by The Associated Press
NYC Pride parade bans police; Gay officers ‘disheartened’

NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of New York City’s Pride events said… Continue reading

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

WAYNE, Alta. — Built during the First World War, it survived the… Continue reading

A letter from a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 is shown in an undated handout photo. A team of researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to solve the mystery of whether a letter in a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 was indeed from a young victim of Titanic shipwreck or simply a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, N. Beaudry, UQAR *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Real or hoax? Quebec scholars probe mystery letter allegedly from Titanic passenger

MONTREAL — Researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to… Continue reading

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication between the federal Transport Department and the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding passenger refunds throws into question the independence of the CTA, an arm’s-length body. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emails reveal close communication between government, transport regulator on refunds

OTTAWA — Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication… Continue reading

Most Read