>> Thursday, May 16, 2013
Perhaps I'm ignorant about food, or maybe the craze has just popped up recently, but I had never heard of ramps until about 2 years ago.
And it wasn't until last spring that I tasted ramps for the first time (at a restaurant) and proceeded to fall in love with that pungent, garlicky flavor.
And then it wasn't until this spring - just a couple weeks ago, in fact - that I finally saw them in the market. I pounced on my chance to pick up a few stalks so that I could finally, finally try cooking these gorgeous plants myself.
Ramps, also known as spring onions, wild garlic, or wild leeks, grow wild throughout the forests in Massachusetts and pretty much up and down the East Coast. These vegetables are one of the first things to pop up in the spring, and people go crazy when they appear for their short, short season.
Ramps are not really cultivated, so if you see ramps on the menu or the market, someone has gone out foraging for them. Some have expressed concern about the fanatacism surrounding ramps leading to over harvesting of the delicate plant. In fact, Quebec has outlawed the sale of ramps since 1995, called it a "threatened" species.
I think ramps are still growing healthily in many parts of New England. However, I wouldn't be surprised if there are patches that have been picked in an unsustainable manner.
With this knowledge and understanding about ramps, I approached my first (and likely only encounter) with ramps this spring with a heightened level of appreciation and awareness.