Now that the 2014 Ramp Season is behind us, make sure you try our ramp seasoning. People are loving this stuff. It is a great way to extend the flavor of ramps for a few more months, and try it on some great new recipes. I personally love sprinkling it on a couple of fried eggs. It’s great in tomato soup too! So give it a shot, it’s great stuff!
A little goes a long way!
Today was the last day of the year we went out digging for fresh ramps. The last orders with ship on 5/5. We have enough to fill all of last weeks orders and we dug even more in order to make several more batches of Ramp Seasoning. If you missed out on fresh ramps this year, do try the seasoning. It’s tastes great and can be used in a variety of dishes.
I have a bit of a story to tell you about todays adventure. My wife and I were walking up a small embankment when a Pheasant or Ruffed Grouse flew right up in front of us. It went about 20 feet, hit the ground and started flopping around like it was wounded. I knew from experience that a mother with small young would do this to lure a predator away from her young if she felt they were threatened. I looked down at my feet and there were three teeny tiny itty bitty chicks laying motionless. One was literally at the tip of my shoe. I had nearly stepped on it. Its hatch mates were only a few inches away from it. I pointed them out to the wife and we ooohed and ahhhed over them for a few minutes. The mother was still flapping in the leaves trying to divert our attention.
I snapped a picture of them before we continued on our way. When we got up a little higher, we watched momma come back, rustle up her young’uns, and quickly lead them in another direction. I hope we didn’t disturb the momma or the baby pheasants too much. Spring is such a wonderful time of the year to be out and about in the woods.
One Baby Pheasant
Another Baby Pheasant
You can click on the images to make them larger. Cute little guys, aren’t they?
This is the last week to buy ramps from me. The last shipment of fresh ramps for the year will be going out on 5/5. We are lucky we got as many weeks in as we did this year. It turned out to be the longest season we’ve had in a couple of years. So, if you want more ramps, order them now. Also, the ramp seasoning was a hit. I knew that our supply would sell out, but I didn’t realize it would sell out in less than 12 hours. We are currently in the process of making more, and I hope to have it ready by this weekend. Keep checking the ramp seasoning page for an update of when it is back in stock. Or, sign up for the mailing list over on the right and I will send everyone an email when it is ready.
One more thing. A young lady asked me if she could write a few words about her and her friends ramp digging, and put it here. I have no problem with that and I didn’t figure you guys would either. Enjoy her story!
Everybody talks about the pungent odor of ramps, but digging the Appalachian delicacy produces a different set of concerns: My legs are tired. My back is hurting. I am hungry. My nose is running. And my burlap bag is filling very, very slowly. I have come to this hillside with a group of friends who had eaten ramps at a neighbor’s house and wanted to try to dig them up and make them themselves.
I had gone before and wanted to help them out. I led them across a rocky slope and into the fog where the hillside is covered by long, green leaves. Those are the ramps. They almost look like thick hair there are so many. The hillside is steep and chilly and damp. It is a hike to get up to where the ramps actually are and we are all slightly winded by the time we make it up to our spot.
Some people think it’s easy to dig up a wild ramp but it is not! You are bent over and crouched, whacking away at them. My friends have never done this before and didn’t quite know what to expect. Luckily I thought to remind them to dress warmly and wear sturdy shoes. My friend Marie is winded before we are even halfway up the slope.
When we finally get to where the most ramps are, they are all amazed by how many there are. I let them start digging and go around and give them tips to make it easier on them. Our goal is to fill one sack each because if we trudged all the way up here then we wanted to make sure it was worth it. At the beginning we were joking and laughing about the task in front of us but now that the work is under way we’ve gotten a little quieter. Oh of course we still laugh when Laurel falls on her butt in the mud with a ramp in her hand. She laughs with us and I realize that doing this with friends makes it way more fun!
As we each fill our own sack we help each other with the rest of them, trying to spread out the work. By the time they’re all filled we have all fallen in the mud at least once (or 4 times in Kari’s case!), we’re soaked through our clothes and really, really hungry. And we still had to get these bags back down the hill! Marie tried rolling hers. I just sat back and let her try even though I knew that didn’t work. After her ramps started to fall out she caught the bag and looked at me for directions. I slung the bag over my shoulder and started walking down the hill.
The girls all followed me, one even started whistling “Hi ho hi ho” from Snow White. By the time we got to the bottom we were muddier still! We washed off our hands in the creek and piled the bags (and ourselves) into our cars. We definitely deserved a nice hot lunch at the local diner after this trip!
Just a quick update to let you know that we have another shipment of ramps going out on 4/28. The ramps are quite large now which seems to be what a lot of you prefer.
Also, I have located a video that I think many of you will enjoy. These are MY people! Proud of my culture. Proud of my heritage. (Well…most of it anyway!)
And one other thing. For the largest list of ramp festivals on the internet, please visit The King of Stink. On the left hand side of their page, there are several links to ramp festivals in various states.
I had a new neighbor move in a couple of weeks ago. He stopped by the house this weekend when we were getting ready to go ramp digging. He asked if he could tag along and I told him yes. Afterwards, he wanted to know if he could write and article that documented his experience. I agreed and told him that I would be glad to post it on the website for him.
Having wild ramps fresh from the field to prepare them the way I wanted sounded like a good start before I jumped into the market scene and was overwhelmed. I needed to go ramp digging, and I needed an experienced ramp digger to teach me. The first thing I learned was to make sure that when foraging for ramps you don’t find yourself with autumn crocus or lily of the valley flower, both of which are poisonous and would ruin any dining experience quickly. I also learned that because of the increasing popularity that they’re getting harder and harder to find. Experienced diggers groused about beds being completely wiped out by the younger generation that digs every last wild ramp in the patch and don’t leave any to reseed. I convinced RampHead I just wanted to sample the wild variety for my own needs and not in a large quantity so he agreed to take me with him. I was grateful he didn’t blindfold me or anything on the way to the site and he said hopefully if a few people would learn how to gather them responsibly, and grow some of their own; it would help out the rest as a whole.
Shipping Wild Ramps – The first part of this weeks orders
Here is a little insight on how we ship our ramps. What you see in the baskets is half of all of this weeks orders. We dug these today, sorted and stacked them as we dug. After much digging we brought them home and put them in the baskets. From here they will go into our cooler so they stay fresh.
Tomorrow we will go out at first light and dig the other half of this weeks orders, and do the same thing to those. The shipping labels and boxes will be prepared over the weekend, and the ramps will be packaged and shipped first thing Monday morning. (The lady at the post office really “loves” ramp day. She grimaces every Monday when she sees me coming with boxes and boxes of the odoriferous green forest herbs. I don’t think she likes the smell.)
We will harvest another batch of WV Ramps this weekend during our weekly dig and we will be shipping them out on 4/21.
We expect to keep harvesting for a few more weeks. The mild weather coming in (it’s actually supposed to snow tomorrow!) should slow the growth down a little bit and allow us some extra harvest time. Last year was one of the shortest harvest seasons we have had in a while and I am hoping we more than make up for that this year. We are on track so far. We are currently at three weeks into the season and it looks like it should definitely be lasting for another two or three weeks at least. Wouldn’t that be nice? To have a full month or two of all the ramps you can eat? Sounds like a good time to me!
Here is the Wild Ramps Order Form for those of you who still have not ordered, or are ready to order your second or your third batch.
In the meantime I have a WV Ramps question for you guys.
Hi folks. Just wanted to let you know that last weeks wild ramp orders are shipping out on Monday 4/14. We had another great week weather wise, and the wild ramp orders were numerous with several folks buying their second batch of the year. Thank you guys so much. We enjoy digging and shipping these wild ramps to spread what we believe is one of Appalachia’s best culinary secrets.
Here are some great nutritional benefits of wild ramps: