Chechens On The Hunt For Wild Garlic
For the people of Chechnya, wild garlic, or cheremsha, is more than just a staple. It's also big business. In this impoverished Caucasus region of Russia, still scarred by two wars, a day's pickings can bring in as much as $40. But collecting the nutritious sprouts in the traditional months of January and February carries its risks; pickers in years past have occasionally been shot after being mistaken for insurgents. Now they face a new hurdle. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov initially forbade the picking of cheremsha from state forests, although he has since had a change of heart -- now harvesting wild garlic is permitted, but only for those who get a permit. Our photographer traveled to the village of Bamut to see how it's done.