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Leeks

Spring 2017

Leeks

All Ray de Vries asks is that we enjoy leeks three times a day. The Skagit Valley farmer known as the Leek King is not being selfish, though. He’ll also tell you how to grow leeks so you can eat them all year round—and that everyone in the Pacific Northwest should grow them. “We’ve got the perfect climate,” he says.

The de Vries family got into leeks after Ray’s dad, Ralph, retired from dairy farming and planted a large produce garden. Ralph went to Seattle’s Produce Row and asked sellers what they needed. “We need leeks! As big as you can grow ’em!”

So that’s … » More …

“Pori”, or Leeks, Tucuinum sanitatis, 1380s, National Library of Vienna
Spring 2017

All about leeks

Leek Facts

The Central Asian home of leeks and the other alliums is a global Center of Diversity. Useful to both crop-plant breeders and conservation organizations, these centers were first proposed by Russian botanist Nikolai Vavilov in the 1930s. Knowing where a plant’s wild relatives hail from enables breeders to bring new genetics into a line, or conservationists to work to preserve that area to ensure genetic diversity for the future.

Chemist Eric Block, author of Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science, calls the Central Asian home of the alliums “a tough neighborhood” where plants must fend off insects and other … » More …