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Ramps Signal Beginning of Spring Vegetable SeasonSubmitted by scott on April 25, 2012 - 6:35am
After a long winter with little local fresh produce early spring vegetable are a nice way to liven up the menu both at home and while out at restaurants and nothing really says spring like ramps.
Allium tricoccum, also known as wild leeks, is one of the first signs of spring. Throughout the mountains of the Eastern United States from North Carolina and Tennessee to Canada and west to Missouri and Wisconsin, ramps grow naturally under a forest canopy of beech, birch, sugar maple, and poplar. While ramps have a short growing season, around a month, they are really the transition to our more common local spring vegetables that will be showing up at the market very soon. They have a flavor similar to onions and garlic with a slightly musty undertone.
We have just begun harvesting ramps here at Madava Farms, and are looking at a great harvest this season. They can be used both raw and cooked and are a great substitute for garlic and and onions. Use them grilled, sautéed, pickled etc.
A side note: if you find them in the wild be sure not to harvest everything there is or they may not come back the following year. Here at the farm, we only take about 20 percent of the ramps, so we can continue to enjoy them and share them with you for years to come.
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