When we first planted our ramps in late November of 2011 at Pine Mountain we couldn’t wait to get our first crop and reap the benefits of such an easy to grow regional delicacy. When spring came in 2012 we faithfully trekked through the brush and up the hillside to check our planted patch every week, and each week we were disappointed. We knew that ramps can take 1-2 years to sprout after dormancy, so we tried to be patient, but Maggie and I feared that birds had eaten all the seeds, and that the ramps would never show. After a month or so of frequent checks we gave up on the ramps for the year and determined that we would just have to wait and see if they popped up the next spring.
I pushed the possibility of having my own ramps to the back of my mind and had not given it much thought until the first week of April when we began to hear of people in the community harvesting ramps and talk of the upcoming ramp festivals that take place each spring in the Appalachians. So, once again Maggie and I walked out to our little hillside patch to search for any sign of sprouting ramps. After searching for several minutes we were ready to give up, when upon closer inspection we found tiny sprouts that looked like they might be ramps. We pulled a couple up and still weren’t quite sure what they were, so we tested their reputation and gave them a smell, and we had ramps! They didn’t have the pungent garlicky onion smell that is usually attributed to ramps but even in their tiny freshly sprouted state they had a slight garlicky odor that could not be mistaken. Our ramps were much too small to harvest that day, but we walked away triumphant that our ramp cultivation hadn’t been a complete failure.
My ramp excitement has been reignited (I still haven’t ever tasted one!) but for now we are patiently waiting for our ramps to grow to an acceptable size. Our teeny tiny ones may not get big enough this year, but we are holding out hope for magnificent future harvests!
The Huffington post has labeled ramps as the “it” vegetable of the spring season, check out their article Recipes That Will Make You Love Ramps
One of my favorite food blogs posted this delicious looking ramp pizza recipe just last week; it uses the greens and all!
Lastly here is a previous post with more information about ramps: