Tuesday, April 24

Ramps are Ready

Here in the heart of Appalachia, we are in the middle to Ramp Season. Ramps, you may ask? Ramps, aka wild leeks, are native to the Appalachian mountain region that grows in the wild in very moist soil in early spring. They are only available for a few weeks in early spring before they die off. As a child I remember Daddy talking about having to dig through the snow in order to harvest the ramps.

Ramps are similar to a green onion with a uniquely pungent aroma and are the first patch of green that emerges in the spring. I remember walking home from the school bus stop thinking I could smell the ramps cooking several houses away. Once they are consumed, they linger for days and days. I have only eaten them raw like you would a green onion. Mom would prepare the ramps by frying them in bacon grease along with potatoes or eggs.

To celebrate this wild leek, Ramp Festivals, are held all across the state. People travel for miles and miles to be able to enjoy a mess of ramps. Mess of ramps you may ask? A mess is considered enough ramps for a meal. Along with the ramps, other side dishes may include ham, eggs, potatoes, pinto beans and cornbread. Never attending a ramp festival I can only repeat what I remember Mom and Daddy telling me.

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