Ramps (Allium tricoccum) are an Appalachian delicacy that deserve respect.
They are a sort of wild onion (commonly referred to as Wild Leeks) that have delicious tasting roots and greens. They are typically found in lush, moist forest types growing in small clusters. These forest herbs take a long time to replenish their population so it is important to harvest in a sustainable manner. Our rule of thumb is to harvest a maximum of 10% of any one cluster of ramps. There is also good reason to believe that these plants can re-grow if the bottom of the bulb containing the roots is replanted in the ground. So we dig, cut off the bottoms, and re-bury when we are harvesting.
These particular ramps were harvested in the Elk Garden area in a unique forest consisting of Buckeye, Hawthorne, and old, dead Sugar Maple trees. The forest floor was covered in Dutchman's breeches and pockets of ramps. A small creek ran through the forest...
Ramps are delicious fried up in a pan with bacon. They are also wonderful thrown on the grill and served with pork chops or made into pickles with apple cider vinegar, honey, and spices.
Many people in the area harvest these for their own tables or to market in the greater Appalachian foodshed. A local celebration of these wonderful plants is held annually in Whitetop, VA. The Ramp Festival is held the third weekend in May.