Ramps are one of those things I go looking for every spring and for good reason. They are amazingly delicious, rare and sought after springtime treat.
Ramps are wild onions that grow during the spring in the U.S and Canada and can be found in large colonies in the forest. Sometimes called wild leeks, they have a unique flavor of garlic and onions.
We find ramps delicious and we are not the only ones. You can find them in farmers markets and on menus of top restaurants. Those who love them will do just about anything to get their hands on them.
But the problem is ramps are scarce and growing even harder to find. They are only in season for a few weeks every spring and in limited supply, especially since they take 7 years to reproduce, and over harvesting has become a serious issue due to their popularity.
If you wish to harvest these delicious wild onions and try them for yourself I encourage you to do so. I also encourage everyone to harvest responsibly. I go for everything but the root system, cutting into the ground with a knife carefully before pulling them out. This method has helped us to not only gather up enough to enjoy until next spring but our patches are still happy, healthy and continue to spread. It can not always be done though so any who do come out with roots intact are moved into the beds under our trees here, my mothers wooded area, or planted in new patches in the forest to grow. The results have been amazing. They may grow slowly but they take to transplanting well and they will root even if you drop them as your walking.
If you are unable to find any wild ramps then grow your own. Seeds and even live plants can be ordered and they will happily grow in any shady spot you give them, especially if its a bit moist. Within a few years you can have your own patch of wonderful ramps and be the envy of all the foodies in the area.