Appalachian Thursday–Ramp Season

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My brother digging ramps on the family farm.

Flowers are blooming, afternoons are warm, the sun moves more slowly across the sky . . .

It’s the time of year when the old folks start shunning preserved foods for something fresh. Something green. Poke sallat. Fiddleheads. And ramps, which are somehow getting to be downright mainstream.

My great-grandmother would be thrilled with the chance to add all this chlorophyll and vitamin C to her family’s diet. And I, too, could be dining on fresh, wild produce. I know what it looks like. I know to pick dandelion greens in wild places where they haven’t been treated with chemicals. And I know where there’s a mighty fine patch of ramps.

But I’m not planning to head out with my foraging basket any time soon. Honestly, I’m just not that fond of these fresh, wild greens that were basically a matter of survival for my ancestors. Maybe I need another generation or two between me and this not very glamorous foraging–not for delicacies–but for sustenance.

I have a friend who took a cooking class in France. They prepared creasy greens and rabbit. Hmmm. So. They cooked plants my grandmother would have gathered in the ditches with meat my grandfather would have shot or trapped. I’m sure it was delicious, but it seems incongruous to me that this is haute cuisine.

I’m all for home-grown foods; for native foods indigenous to a place. But ramps make you stink. Poke turns poisonous later in the season and fiddleheads? Well, I prefer to just look at them.

Bon appetit.

7 thoughts on “Appalachian Thursday–Ramp Season

  1. Oh my word, I am laughing so hard!! I just hear you saying this with your ever so subtle hints of “Bless your (ramp stinked up) heart”.
    For the record? Fiddleheads are nasty. Butter and garlic? Well, just had me a garlic clove and that’ll do.

  2. mom

    I’m with you on this one! I’ve tried many a ramp, practically forced on me by various friends with the comment “you’ll love it cooked THIS way, but have yet to try one that I could choke down a second bite!! Maybe I should give Dale Hawkins a try?

      1. Maybe if you tried ramps fried with potatoes or the smaller ones will not have that potent smell or make you stink..I love them fried in taters or the small ones like a small garden onion..Yummest

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