It’s ramp season! Thanks to CBF cheesemaker (and skillful home cook) Casey for the words and pics!
For those of you from the city or suburbia, ramp is a word that most likely needs a translation. Ramps are a seasonal delicacy ´round these parts; a green shoot found in wooded areas only in the springtime – a wild, Spring leek, if you will. For those of you who grew up in rampy regions, this is a Spring delight you are all quite familiar with. And, for those of you shopping the Green Markets in NYC, ramps are reason for celebration, jubilation, wonder, and that opening-of-the-wallet-for-foraged-things moment.
At Consider Bardwell Farm we are excited to be collecting and consuming these Springy monocots with abandon.
I was introduced to a particular source of the Spring-sprouting shoots near our back fields by one of the farmers, who shared his super secret, hidden gardens of rampery with me one afternoon. I have henceforth visited said secret places on a weekly basis to harvest the garlicky, zesty, lemony stalks for use in the kitchen.
Avoiding bears, pretending not to see No Tresspassing signs, and remembering to only harvest a mere 10-percent of each patch (to ensure for following seasons of wild propogation) are all-important ramp-harvesting skills that one must develop to reap the benfits of their short season.
Hands in the dirt — finger and knife tips wiggling into the warm, wormy, mushroomy soil – one looks to cleanly dislodge the somewhat stubborn bursts of green, revealing their burgundy stalks and bright, white bulbous root. A successful extraction releases a whiff of garlic and onion that comingles with the sweet decay of last Fall´s leaves and freshly upturned earth.
As much as they are an adventure to collect, they are perhaps more exciting to have at home, waiting to be used in any recipe that calls for they themselves, their sibling the leek, or even the more ubiquitous onion.
At Consider Bardwell, we have already pickled them — with peppercorns, Aleppo chili flakes, and coriander —, sauteed them as a topping on pizza – with a healthy sprinkle of our cow’s milk cheese, Pawlet — and embedded them in the calzone-like CBF favorite: the Pizza Roll. Our quest continues: to use ramps in increasingly creative and delicious ways before they are (sadly) out of season and we must live through another winter to see them again.