Top view of wooden spoon with hearts of palm on it
Why Is The Heart Of Palm Vegetable So Controversial?
As a vegetable once mostly used in salads but now seen in dips, stews, and soups, heart of palm may be the trendiest vegetable you've never heard of.
The delicacy, which comes from the palm tree’s centermost stalk, reminds many of white asparagus or artichoke hearts. Its growing popularity is not without controversy.
Many environmentalists point to the fanfare around heart of palm as one reason why some palm-tree species, such as the juçara palm, now face extinction.
Heart of palm has been a part of South and Central American diets for ages, but more recent market forces have ramped up the vegetable’s production, leading to overharvesting.
When heart of palm is taken from plants with just a single stalk, the entire plant dies. The crop’s value also entices farmers to clear land by engaging in illegal logging.
To practice sustainability, consumers should check labels before purchasing heart of palm to ensure they come from sustainable sources such as peach palm and açai palm trees.