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:
As I told you in the previous post, the ramps were still quite small. But, after a good week of warmer temperatures and some much needed sunlight, the ramps have sprung up quickly. What you see in the picture is a handful of the ramps that are shipping out on 4/7. We had an excellent ramp harvest today with some of the ramp bottoms being as large as garden onions.
If you were waiting to place your order due to the small size, you are safe to order now. These are some great looking ramps. (Sorry for the horrible picture quality. It was getting dark and I was exhausted.)
To all of you who have already ordered, your orders will be shipped out on Monday 4/7.
It’s time! It’s time!
Ramps Vegetable are now ready for 2014!
We expect to start shipping out the first boxes of ramps the week of March 31st.
Please note that these first week ramps will be the smaller yet stronger variety. They still do not have a large amount of green on them, but it is at this stage they are at their tastiest. The smaller ramps look like this. Some have more green, some have less green, some are just bulbs, but completely edible. This is the size that most locals prefer to eat them.
Spring for some is a crocus peeking through the snow or the sighting of a robin after a long hard winter, while others insist that it is the burst of purple that flowers on the Eastern Redbud tree. But for many natives, the harvest of ramps in West Virginia and the subsequent onslaught of ramp celebrations, festivals, and dinners is the only sure sign that spring has sprung.
Allium tricoccum, wild leek, wild onion, spring tonic, or most commonly, the ramp is a wild plant that grows in the mountains of Appalachia. It resembles a scallion and tastes like a cross between an onion and garlic. More often than not, they are charged with having an offensively pungent smell. “In early April, step out on your porch and point your nose in this direction, and you just might smell them, ” jokes Helvetia resident Betty Biggs.
In my opinion, nothing rivals the thrill of finding deep green colored wild ramps after a long, cold, gray winter. Especially after these West Virginia winters that seem to last for months on end.
I fell in love with ramps years ago when I was a kid and my family ventured around to various ramp festivals across the state, before I even knew where to dig them out of the ground. Not only are they tasty, they are a beautiful plant. Strong but slender with deep green leaves, a beautiful purple stem and seam that runs up the leaves.