Carrboro, North Carolina
Born and raised in central Maine, my youth was spent mowing the lawn, kicking a soccer ball against the garage doors, and trying to sneak sugar cereal out of the kitchen cupboards after I was put to bed. More about Tim
South Royalton, Vermont
I am a baby boomer who grew up in a time when the trend in food was convenience and speed. It wasn't the fast-food era, but a post-World War II time when ... More about Warren
We live in Holliston, Massachusetts. When we bought our house in Holliston about 27 years ago, Holliston was a rural/residential town of about 13,000 people. More about Barbara
Wallace, West Virginia
My name is Autumn. I'm 24 years old, and I live in rural north-central West Virginia. I was born and raised in West Virginia, and in 2005 I graduated from ... More about Autumn
My personal interests revolve around the environment, both knowing more about it and getting outside and enjoying my surroundings. This led me down an educational path to ... More about April
If it's springtime in West Virginia, it must be ramp season! The Allium tricoccum is known in some circles as the wild leek, but here in the Mountain State we just call 'em ramps. This odiferous wild cousin to the onion is celebrated enthusiastically throughout Appalachia, with West Virginia as the hub of ramp cuisine. Throughout the state in April and May, various "ramp dinners" or "ramp feeds" are held at churches and community centers. If you're lucky enough to know the location of a wild patch, and brave enough to withstand the potent smell, you can cook them at home. Their powerful scent is legendary, and their delicious flavor is best described as a cross between onions and garlic.
My husband brought home a large bunch of ramps yesterday; some friends who live on the other side of the hill have a large, thick patch from which we dig the smelly buggers each spring. I placed the ramps in the kitchen sink before heading outside to enjoy the warm spring evening on our deck. When I walked back into the house, my first thought was, "Oh lord, what is that smell?!" I quickly realized it was the ramps. I cleaned them and chopped up some of the bulbs. In keeping with Appalachian tradition, I fried the ramps with potatoes and eggs. Happily, the morning's morel hunt had broken all previous personal records both in size and quantity, so I was able to sauté fresh morels with ramps to complete the meal. It tasted sooooo good.
Ramps are traditionally fried with potatoes and eggs, and served with bacon, cornbread, and/or pinto beans. But they can be used in place of onions and garlic in just about any dish. Tonight I will feature them in a pasta dish with morels and asparagus, with a side salad of tender baby greens and radishes from the garden, and a dessert of stewed rhubarb. Springtime is oh-so-good to this locavore.
After a stretch of delightful warm spring weather, this past week brought very cool temperatures and a lot of rain. We had two nights where the temperatures dropped below thirty degrees and we had frost. Rick covered the new vegetable garden with hay and everything was luckily saved! On one of the nights there was quite a bit of ice on our bird bath - much to the dismay of a pair of robins who stop by every day to take a nice long bath. Around here frost can occur all the way up until the end of May.
All the rain has made the world lush and unbelievably green! It is a very exciting time because all the local farmstands are opening and there is a lot to explore and enjoy. In the neighboring town of Sherborn, there is a new farm stand that has just opened and they have fresh eggs.
Recently during the night, someone took some of the bee hive equipment from the Natick Organic Farm. Whoever it was also attempted to steal the hives but was probably stung by the bees - evidently bees do not like being moved at all! So luckily the bees were saved. The farm has the most adorable piglets and I am going to visit on a sunny day this week so I can take a snap shot to share with everyone.
Our world will soon be full of fresh local produce again. Yeah for spring!